EA’s Star Wars Battlefront II drew widespread backlash last year for its predatory “pay to win” implementation of in-game gambling, with the selling point multiplayer mode’s progression system, high cost of unlocking popular franchise icons, and sparingly awarded rewards all revolving around loot-boxes and microtransactions. The controversy on Electronic Arts’ hands grew so dire, to the point it attracted both media and government attention, that the publisher suspended in-game payments before the game’s public launch.
Unfortunately, the possibility of Battlefront II‘s microtransactions returning since remained, and now it’s official. EA CFO Blake Jorgensen has recently told the Wall Street Journal that the “player choice” for microtransactions will indeed come back “in the next few months.”
Word broke after EA disclosed their financial figures for their third quarter of their fiscal year—spanning from October to December—which includes sales data for Star Wars Battlefront II. According to EA, they first expected the game to sell 10 million units, although this prediction came before the massive fallout surrounding its microtransactions features. In truth, Battlefront II has only sold 7 million units in that time (with a 28% digital share), nearly half of what the original Battlefront sold when it first launched within a similar timespan.
EA previously told their investors that turning off Battlefront II‘s microtransactions would not negatively impact their bottom line, and this turned out to be true, as the publisher nonetheless still performed strongly in the fiscal quarter. Jorgensen, however, “blames the controversy in large part” for the game’s poor sales. He has told the Wall Street Journal that microtransactions will return once they’ve retooled the system to be more customer-friendly and, hopefully, not geared towards “accelerated experience.” Their fourth-quarter guidance shows no indication of its return during this time frame, so it will likely be possible for players to purchase the Crystal premium currency and loot boxes again as early as April this year.
Are you still playing Star Wars Battlefront II since its launch? Do you feel provided with a sense of pride and accomplishment with the game’s lower-than-estimated sales figures? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.