“And we’re gamers,” they add.
The best thing to happen in a year that saw the launch of Zelda, Mario, Horizon, Persona, and two new consoles was people finally getting fed up of abusive and predatory practices in AAA games, and speaking out against the egregious monetization in titles like Star Wars Battlefront 2. We were successful enough that we ensured that, temporarily at least, EA will have to backtrack on its plans. Plus the well for Battlefront is poisoned badly enough now anyway, that all developers and publishers will have to take pause before being so potentially predatory in the future.
So, of course, industry analysts, who have made an art form of going against popular sentiment, feel that the controversy around loot boxes and microtransactions was overblown, and that EA has made a mistake in capitulating.
Evan Wingren, Equity Research Analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets on video games and eSports, wrote an investors note that was reported on by CNBC. And he said… well, tell you what, I’ll let him say it in his own words.
“We view the negative reaction to Star Wars Battlefront II (and industry trading sympathy) as an opportunity to add to Electronic Arts, Take-Two, and Activision Blizzard positions. The handling of the SWBFII launch by EA has been poor; despite this, we view the suspension of MTX [micro-transactions] in the near term as a transitory risk. Gamers aren’t overcharged, they’re undercharged (and we’re gamers) … This saga has been a perfect storm for overreaction as it involves EA, Star Wars, reddit, and certain purist gaming journalists/outlets who dislike MTX,” he said.
“If you take a step back and look at the data, an hour of video game content is still one of the cheapest forms of entertainment. Quantitative analysis shows that video game publishers are actually charging gamers at a relatively inexpensive rate, and should probably raise prices.
“Despite its inconvenience to the popular press narrative, if you like Star Wars and play video games at an average rate, you’re far better off skipping the movie and playing the game to get the most bang for your buck.”
I’m not sure I agree with Wingren here- and given that Battlefront 2 currently seems to be tracking lower than the 2015 game for all territories we have figures for, it seems like customers don’t agree with his take, either.