Electronic Arts had it’s Q3 financials call earlier today and things weren’t pretty. A major shortfall in sales numbers of Star Wars Battlefront II is being blamed on consumer backlash against EA and its predatory gambling practices, AKA Loot boxes. EA has revised their forecast to expect Battlefront II’s sales to hit its original 10-11 million goal by the end of the fiscal year, or the start of April.
It’s no surprise that thousands of people boycotted a title that was hit by multiple controversies all stemming from the greed of one of the most-disliked game publishers in the industry today.
Interestingly, the popular conspiracy claim online that Disney made EA pull the plug on MTX systems in Battlefront 2 was directly debunked during the call as well.
A statement regarding the loot box debacle was issued in their financial documents which read:
Now, let me touch on Star Wars Battlefront II. This was definitely a learning opportunity. You’ll remember that we brought three of our top studios together on this project, and the result was a massive game with a new Star Wars story; space battles; and huge multiplayer variety. We wanted a game that would meet the needs of the vast and passionate Star Wars fan base, so we designed it with the intent of keeping the community together, and a commitment to continually add content long after launch. Given the newness of this design, we knew that player feedback during the pre-launch testing period would be key. Having made adjustments based on sentiment and community data coming out of the beta and early trials, we ultimately made the decision to pull in-game purchases out of the game prior to launch. We never intended to build an experience that could be seen as unfair or lacking clear progression, so we removed the feature that was taking away from what fans were telling us was an otherwise great game.We are fortunate to have such passionate players that will tell us when we get it right, and when we don’t. We’re now working hard on more updates that will meet the needs of our players, and we hope to bring these to the Battlefront II community in the months ahead.
Having made these changes before launch, Star Wars Battlefront II has been delivering fun to millions of players around the world, through the holiday season and beyond. With the breadth and depth of the game, fans spent twice as much time playing Battlefront II over the previous game during the launch quarter. The unique story of Iden Versio at the center of the game has drawn nearly 70% of players into the single-player campaign. Engagement has been strong in the first season of free post-launch content from The Last Jedi, and we’re excited to bring new seasons to fans in FY19. As we grow this game with more content, we believe that Star Wars fans will continue to have fantastic experiences over the long life of Battlefront II.
Going forward, we believe that live services that include optional digital monetization, when done right, provide a very important element of choice that can extend and enhance the experience in our games. We’re committed to continually working with our players to deliver the right experience in each of our games and live services.
During the call, they talked a little more about what they are thinking about microtransactions.
“As we talked about he prepared remarks, we believe that the digital economies have a place in live services and our plan is absolutely to continue to drive and focus and deliver on that. The teams are working on how that will fit in the context of the Star Wars Battlefront 2 universe and in the coming months we’ll have more to share on that front.”
EA have made it clear to investors that they plan to offset these low sales through reinstating controversial microtransactions, those same ones they originally removed due to gamer outrage. It’s not clear exactly what form these revamped MTX implementations will take, but you can bet EA is just biding its time before pulling the trigger on more outrageous greed in Star Wars Battlefront II.
You can find a full transcript of the call here.