Electronic Arts shares have dropped 8.5 percent month to date, according to reporting from CNBC. During the same period, the S&P 500 is up 2 percent overall, while major competitors like Take-Two and Activision Blizzard are also up. All told, the drop in shares represents $3.1 billion in value that's been wiped from the company, all related to the controversy and sales of Star Wars: Battlefront 2.
For investors, the loss of confidence began when Electronic Arts delivered its sales forecast for the holiday quarter on October 31. The numbers were slightly below analyst estimates, at $2 billion instead of $2.1 billion. Stock dropped nearly 4 percent that day and the Battlefront 2 situation hasn't improved anything.
"We were underwhelmed by sell-through for Star Wars: Battlefront II (EA) over the Black Friday weekend, which follows a controversial launch for the game," Stifel analyst Drew Crum said in a statement.
"Battlefront II is the pointy tip of the iceberg. ... The biggest recent controversy has centered around EA's Star Wars Battlefront II, where early evidence suggests player anger over a mishandled loot box economy may in fact be impacting initial sales," said Cowen analyst Doug Creutz in a note to clients. "We think the time has come for the industry to collectively establish a set of standards for MTX implementation, both to repair damaged player perceptions and avoid the threat of regulation."
Despite all of this, EA stock is actually up 39 percent for the year, given that the second quarter financial report delivered on October 31 was up for the company. And Electronic Arts is not giving up microtransactions in Battlefront 2, according to statements by chief financial officer Blade Jorgensen at the Credit Suisse Annual Technology, Media & Telecom Conference.
"We're not giving up on the notion of MTX [microtransactions]," he stated. "We're really watching how people are playing the game. We're trying to understand are there certain modes where MTX may be more interesting than not? What are the consumers saying about it? How are the consumers playing the game? What do the metrics look like? We're learning and listening to the community to decide how best to roll that out in the future."
EA and DICE don't have a timetable for when we can expect to see the return of microtransactions to Battlefront 2.