According to a Financial Analyst, You Should Be So Lucky to Save So Much Money on Star Wars Battlefront 2

The Star Wars Battlefront 2 controversy has one financial analyst weigh in on video game pricing.

News by Matt Kim, .

EA's Star Wars Battlefront 2 launch was kind of a mess thanks to EA's handling of the loot box controversy. So while the narrative from the community and press side of things was decidedly negative, the financial sector appears to view EA's loot box woes as a big overreaction. Maybe even just a temporary setback on the path to maximizing profits from video games to the last cent.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 Loot Crate

Speaking to CNBC KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst, Evan Wingren, said that contrary to the media fallout, the conclusion they see is that "Gamers aren't overcharged, they're undercharged[.]"

According to Wingren, who spoke mostly in terms of finances, "The handling of the [Star Wars Battlefront 2] launch by EA has been poor; despite this, [KeyBanc Capital Markets] view the suspension of MTX [micro-transactions] in the near term as a transitory Risk[.]"

EA themselves downplayed the seriousness of its response to the controversy, saying the (temporary) removal of microtransactions "is not expected to have a material impact on EA's fiscal year 2018." Wingren does say that there is a "slightly higher probability" that Battlefront 2 won't hit the 13 million sales unit forecast as a result of the controversy.

However, Wingren doesn't blame micro-transactions. Rather he says that "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[.]"

Instead, Wingren is still batting pretty hard for how, based on cents per hours played (40 cents per hour according to Wingren), Battlefront 2 is a better investment for entertainment. According to Wingren playing a game is cheaper than watching an hour of television (60 to 65 cents per hour), or watching a film either through rental (80 cents per hour) or in a theater ($3 per hour).

"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," wrote Wingren. In fact, he argues that prices for video games should be raised arguing that based on the cost-per-hour metric, "you're far better off skipping the movie [Star Wars The Last Jedi?] and playing [Star Wars Battlefront 2] to get the most bang for your buck[.]"

Firstly, it's not exactly accurate to breakdown entertainment value via cost-per-hour, though I suppose that's why Wingren is a financial analyst. Along with the fact that the math on whether or not video games should cost more thanks to increased development budget is shaky presently, Wingren's judgement appears to be trying to put a good face on EA's Battlefront 2 situation, which has resulted in EA's stock prices dipping.

Tied to the fact that EA might not reach their sales forecast and it seems like despite Wingren's claims that games should be priced higher, or that microtransactions are still a steal (compared to the cents spent for watching a film), the narrative around Battlefront 2 continues to be bleak.

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Comments 10

  • Avatar for dard410 #1 dard410 A month ago
    This guy is really missing the forests for the trees. The problem with microtransactions isn't the cost, it's that they decrease the entertainment value players get from the game - "the fun" factor. Pulling back on microtransactions might be a short term financial risk for EA, but if people stop buying the games because they're not fun, if EA's reputation plunges even further, that's a much bigger risk.
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  • Avatar for phatcorns #2 phatcorns A month ago
    I don't make my decisions on what to play/watch based on the price. I'd be better off buying Battlefront than watching Last Jedi? Who thinks like that?!
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  • Avatar for brodiejohn13 #3 brodiejohn13 A month ago
    @phatcorns they will lose the star wars licence with talk like that. Discouraging people NOT to go and see the new film in a franchise that the game is based on...?!?!
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  • Avatar for Monkey-Tamer #4 Monkey-Tamer A month ago
    This is what happened to our beloved hobby when it became normalized. It got a target painted on its back and everyone wants a piece of its sweet booty. Good thing we've got a huge selection on PC and can enjoy games still crafted from passion rather than profit. Unfortunately I fear this is just a minor bump in the road. We've come a long way since horse armor. It's only a matter of time before tactics like this are simply par for the course.
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #5 SatelliteOfLove A month ago
    *looks up from games bought up to 70% off in PC sales*

    You act as if YOU have a choice in this, bucko*Edited last month by SatelliteOfLove
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  • Avatar for chaoticBeat #6 chaoticBeat A month ago
    He's right though. By not buying this game, that's like $66 (with tax included) in my pocket. That's about 8 days of flying falafels.
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  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #7 KaiserWarrior A month ago
    I've long said that video games are one of the cheapest forms of entertainment available, for a person that plays a lot of video games. If you drop $60 on Skyrim and then get 300 hours of gameplay out of it, you've paid 20 cents an hour for that entertainment. And that's assuming you pay full launch retail price.

    But with that said? Nobody calculates their entertainment spending that way. You can't just look at the raw numbers of video games being cheaper than going to the theater and conclude that, because some people pay theater prices, they'll bear higher video game prices. It just doesn't work that way. Hell, people barely bear the current market rate of $60 for a new AAA title -- lots of smaller-budget games release at the $40 price point, and even big-budget games go on sale frequently and soon. Horizon: Zero Dawn launched this February at $60, and it was just available for $20, not even a year after launch.

    You see, each modern title that comes out has a big challenge to overcome: it's got to compete with years-old games that are still perfectly good, that still provide dozens if not hundreds of hours of entertainment, and are FAR cheaper because they're no longer the latest and greatest. GoG, Steam, Humble, and all kinds of other marketplaces have amazing titles available for ten bucks or less that will still provide a hobbyist gamer with just as many hours of entertainment as the latest Assassin's Creed, if not more.

    With that kind of competition, even the $60 price point is hard to sustain, and it shows with how quickly modern releases go on sale, and how deep those price cuts are.

    This is what happens when analysts that have no idea how the market in question works, try to treat it like any generic revenue model.

    There's a reason the stock market has crashed several times.
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #8 Roto13 A month ago
    @brodiejohn13 It's not EA saying this. It's some dumbass analyst.
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  • Avatar for Sturat #9 Sturat A month ago
    This makes no sense. I don't play games in order to waste time, I play them despite wasting time. This is like measuring the value of candy by trying to maximize calories.
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  • Avatar for moochan #10 moochan A month ago
    "Financial Analyst says companies should charge people more money to costumers" NEW AT 11! But really this is really the issue with breaking everything down to numbers. Microtransations really can ruin a great game at times. More so when you build a full game around it like with Battlefront 2. This is why financial analyst is always the worse person to ask for anything. Since they just take raw numbers and say why they benefits companies. To them actual feelings has no place in his work so just pay the company their money and enjoy they game they made and never complain.
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