It has been a harrowing few weeks for EA. For years now, EA’s business model seems to be to sell the public parts of a game and then charge extra for the rest. It has gotten so bad that it has driven gamers like me to not even bother with a title if their logo appears on the packaging. But with their latest release, Star Wars: Battlefront 2, it seems people are finally ready to fight back.
It started with a twitter-storm as players noticed, after spending upwards of $60 for the game, that EA was encouraging them to spend even more to unlock certain characters. It was all part of EA’s monetization strategy of squeezing every penny out of franchise fans. Unsurprisingly, they revolted instead and took to the internet to trash the game. EA attempted to mitigate the damage by drastically reducing the character prices and eventually getting rid of the “lootbox” system altogether, as some argued that the random nature of the lootbox’s contents was little more than gambling, as players didn’t know what, exactly, they were paying for.
Unfortunately, it seems they were too late. Bad word-of-mouth had done its damage as the game’s initial sales numbers fell far under projection. Less than half the expected numbers had been sold since the launch date. Things had been looking grim in the Media for a while, prompting Bob Iger, Chief Executive Officer for Disney, to make a call to EA’s CEO, Andrew Wilson. Nobody knows exactly what the two talked about over the phone, but it’s not hard to guess. Disney is a family friendly business, looking to make money through licensing its many franchises for films and video games, and all of this bad press stands in the way of that. Many assume that it is because of this call that EA scrapped the game’s transaction system just before launch, surprising many. One thing is for sure: Another slip-up like this one, and Disney will take it’s business elsewhere, leaving EA without a massive revenue stream in the future.