Unless you’ve been isolated on Dagobah, you’ll have no doubt heard about the controversy surrounding Star Wars Battlefront II and its microtransaction system. According to one Wall Street firm, however, this outrage is unwarranted given that it’s still “one of the cheapest forms of entertainment.”
Outcry from fans over Star Wars Battlefront II’s decisively pay-to-win loot crates resulted in many tweaks, as well as a suspension of the microtransaction system entirely, resulting in no real-world money able to be invested in the game. KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Evan Wingren has since expressed his concerns that this will hurt the video game’s sales, to which has already seen poor launch figures.
“We view the negative reaction to Star Wars BattlefrontII (and industry trading sympathy) as an opportunity to add to Electronic Arts, Take-Two, and Activision Blizzard positions. The handling of the SWBF2 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,” Wingren wrote.
This conclusion of being undercharged was reached with the following mathematics: If a general Battlefront II player were to spend $60 on the game, plus a further $20-per-month on the title’s microtransactions, all while playing approximately 2.5 hours a day, every day for a year, then it equates to just 40 cents per hour, while comparative media is undeniably higher at roughly 60 cents-per-hour for television and 80 for movie rentals.
“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,” he wrote. “Quantitative analysis shows that video game publishers are actually charging gamers at a relatively inexpensive rate, and should probably raise prices.”
His suggested pricing reaches as high as $144 for a single microtransaction-less title, with costs varying depending on the company.
Meanwhile, Lucasfilm supports the decision to remove microtransactions, stating to The Washington Post that “Star Wars has always been about the fans, and whether it’s Battlefront or any other Star Wars experience, they come first.”
KitGuru Says: Many people I’ve spoken to have stated that they would actually be happier to pay a little more for complete titles that aren’t reliant on an exploitative system, however how high varies per person. It’s clear that this evaluation only takes into account the value of content consumed rather than the quality of such content, which ultimately gets watered down and changed to suit a system that is about cash rather than the players themselves. Do you think we should pay more for games?