Last week, Star Wars: Battlefront II came out, but it didn’t have as smooth a release as EA anticipated, thanks to the surrounding controversy with its “pay-to-play” loot box system. Fortunately, the publisher did remove the system at the last moment, though it indicated that it could return sometime in the future. In the meantime, fun for all!
That noted, an analyst over at Equity Research at KeyBanc Captial Markets sounded off on the subject. Evan Wingren believes that the gaming community’s reaction to the loot box system was overblown, between “Star Wars, reddit and certain purist gaming journalists/outlets” who don’t care for Microtransactions. Here’s the full breakdown of what Wingren said:
"We view the negative reaction to Star Wars Battlefront II (and industry trading sympathy) as an opportunity to add to Electronic Arts, Take-Two, and Activision Blizzard positions. The handling of the SWBFII launch by EA has been poor; despite this, we view the suspension of MTX [micro-transactions] in the near term as a transitory risk. Gamers aren’t overcharged, they’re undercharged (and we’re gamers). 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.
"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. 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."
It’s interesting how Wingren would look at this as a by-the-hour process, instead of looking at the value of a game as a whole. On top of that, the idea that gamers “aren’t paying enough” for games is questionable, since the cost of software has gone up quite a bit over the years, with general titles costing $60 – and sometimes more, depending on Season Pass content, DLC and other goods to go alongside the game.
It’ll be interesting to see what the video game community thinks of these comments – and, more importantly, if the idea of another price increase in games could take effect.