Electronic Arts’ Lootbox Catastrophy Continues – Will We See A Price Raise On Games?

France and Lucasfilm both responded to the situation. Electronic Arts will not come out of this misery that easily…

During the weekend, Electronic Arts (we’ll shorten it to EA from now on) and its loot boxes have rolled forward, affecting two of their newest games, Need For Speed: Payback and Star Wars: Battlefront II. Let’s get the racing game out of the way first: Ghost Games announced on Reddit how the progression is going to be changed:

  • Increased the amount of REP and Bank awarded by taking part in events.
  • Bait crates now reward increased REP and Bank.
  • Bait crates now reward increased Bank.
  • Competing against a Roaming Racer will reward you with increased REP and Bank.
  • Air Suspension will now appear more frequently within Shipments.
  • Slightly increased REP and Bank for finishing an event outside of first place.

A French senator, Jerome Durain has sent a letter to the French gambling authority, which was published on Twitter – although he considers video games and eSports as a positive effect due to cultural and economic growth, but loot boxes (mentioning Star Wars: Battlefront II by name) and microtransactions are looked at as one of the problematic aspects of the gaming industry’s evolution. He points out that they could be affecting it negatively. Durain did not recommend anything in the letter, but he did say that if the boxes contain cosmetic items only (Overwatch could be a good example), those cannot be titled as pay-to-win mechanics, which is partially applicable to Battlefront II, naming the boxes as gambling. The letter was written on November 16, but likely before EA temporarily shut down the monetization.

Even Lucasfilm responded to the microtransactions, and they gave a surprising reply to Washington Post: „Star Wars has always been about the fans — and whether it’s Battlefront II or any other Star Wars experience, they come first. That’s why we support EA’s decision to remove in-game payments to address fan concerns temporarily.” They’re seemingly happy to see the microtransactions go, but this whole event might be because of Disney, the owner of Star Wars, pursuing EA to do so, which wouldn’t be surprising.

Evan Wingren, Equity Research Analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets on video games and eSports, wrote an investors note reported by CNBC, saying that the games should be more expensive (!): „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 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.”

Would you pay eighty dollars for an AAA game?

Source:Reddit, Twitter, GameSpot, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, GamesIndustry, CNBC

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Anikó, our news editor and communication manager, is more interested in the business side of the gaming industry. She worked at banks, and she has a vast knowledge of business life. Still, she likes puzzle and story-oriented games, like Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments, which is her favourite title. She also played The Sims 3, but after accidentally killing a whole sim family, swore not to play it again. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our IMPRESSUM)

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