Type the phrase “Star Wars: Battlefront II” (or some variant of it) into a search engine, and you’ll likely see as many articles slamming the game’s loot-box feature as reviews.
The last week has been something of a PR disaster for the game’s publisher EA. After players were vocal in their complaints about the game being sold for full price containing pay-to-win microtransactions, and a disastrous AMA on reddit with the developers, DICE, and EA made the decision to switch off said microtransations at launch.
While that last move didn’t remove the bitter taste from a lot of mouths, it did go some way towards putting out the online fire burning down the game’s reputation. Just when we thought it was out, here comes a Wall Street analyst to pour some more gasoline on it.
Apparently, according to an analyst over at KeyBanc Capital Markets not only has all the controversy over BFII’s loot crates been an overreaction, EA should be charging more for their base game on top of that.
“We view the negative reaction to Star Wars Battlefront 2 (and industry trading sympathy) as an opportunity to add to Electronic Arts, Take-Two, and Activision Blizzard positions. The handling of the SWBF2 launch by EA has been poor; despite this, we view the suspension of MTX [micro-transactions] in the near term as a transitory risk,” KeyBanc Capital Markets’ Evan Wingren wrote to clients.
“Gamers aren’t overcharged, they’re undercharged (and we’re gamers), Wingren wrote. “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.”
According to Wingren gamers are getting a great deal out of Battlefront II, since games as a medium pack in more hours of entertainment than say TV, movies or music. By Windgren’s estimates, if a player doles out $60 for a game and then another $20 for a month for MTX it comes to 40 cents an hour, if the player plays the game for 2.5 hours a day for a year. Stacked up against the costs and time constraints of other mediums, games are the most cost-saving entertainment even if they have a bunch of MTX shoved in them, he argues.
“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,” he wrote. “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,” he wrote.
So there you have it. Just to recap:
- Players upset by microtransactions in full price games are overreacting.
- The press egged them on with a ‘popular press narrative’
- Publishers should be charging more at retail purchase point than they are
- Don’t bother with the films, Star Wars games are where it’s at
All good? Great! As you were.[Source: CNBC]