New reports suggest that the fallout from Battlefront II‘s microtransaction controversy may have resulted in a sizeable hit to EA’s stock value.
CNBC is reporting that Electronic Arts stock is down 8.5% as of the latest evaluation. That drop essentially wipes out $3.1 billion worth of shareholder value. As CNBC also notes, fellow large video game publishers Take-Two and Activision Blizzard’s stock values have risen during this same time period.
There are a few factors to consider here. The biggest among them is the fact that EA essentially warned investors at the end of October that they were bracing for a lower-than-expected financial quarter. As such, this news doesn’t seem to be entirely unexpected.
However, the scope of these losses seems to have caught everybody by surprise. That element of this story can almost certainly be traced to the controversy surrounding Star Wars Battlefront II‘s much-reviled microtransaction model. It’s already being reported that sales of Battlefront II over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend were far, far lower than EA initially anticipated. Some outlets suggest that physical sales of Battlefront II in the U.K. are down 61 percent when compared to sales of 2015’s Battlefront over the same time period.
The bigger issue here, though, is the scope of that controversy. After an EA statement on Reddit became the most downvoted post in that website’s history, multiple news outlets began to cover the outrage that fans felt regarding EA’s decision to hide most of Battlefront II’s content in randomized loot boxes. EA was forced to reduce the in-game price of major heroes, and Disney’s CEO eventually had to intervene and request that microtransactions be removed from the game. However, some suspect that Disney was well aware of the policy long before the intervention.
Now, investors, analysts, and gamers are wondering what EA’s next move will be. The publisher has relied on such microtransaction models for years now, but it’s hard to imagine they will be able to return to them now that they have generated so much outrage over the pricing structure.
Currently, microtransactions are still disabled for Battlefront II.