The company that makes popular “Star Wars” games faces reduced profits after a pay-to-win scandal, according to a Thursday report.
Financial services firm Cowen reduced Electronic Arts’ projected price target and profits, citing the role played by microtransactions, or in-game purchases, in creating “increasingly unhappy” gamers, reported CNBC.
“We are lowering our FY18 estimates to below management’s guidance as we believe that Star Wars Battlefront 2’s performance (lower units + the indefinite delay of [microtransactions]) has been disappointing enough to more than offset any strength elsewhere in the model,” said Cowen analyst Doug Creutz, according to CNBC. “The negative player reaction to the mishandled loot box economy has clearly impacted [Star Wars: Battlefront 2] sales…we think this is evidence that the industry’s core gamer constituency is getting increasingly unhappy about the degree to which [microtransactions are] being shoehorned into core gameplay loops.”
EA received over 600,000 down votes on Reddit in November for a comment in which it explained why gamers had to pay $80 to play as Darth Vader in Battlefront 2. After receiving massive negative feedback, the company said that it would temporarily suspend microtransactions in the game. (RELATED: EA’s Explanation For Why You Have To Pay $80 More To Play As Vader Made History For Its Reddit Beat Down)
Hawaii launched an investigation into EA over gambling concerns in Battlefront II, with Hawaiian Democrat Rep. Chris Lee calling the game an “online casino.”
Cowen lowered its prediction for EA’s Battlefront II unit sales from 14 million to 11 million copies for FY2018, consequently dropping its predicted earnings per share from $4.24 to $4.08 for the same period, 12 cents below EA’s own estimate of $4.20. The firm lowered the price target for EA shares from $106 to $104, a 4 percent decline.
“Even factoring in the shift to digital units, it seems pretty likely that initial total sales will wind up being 20%-30% behind the pace of the original Battlefront, with bigger-than-normal price cuts also likely needed to move inventory,” continued Creutz. “We think that the poorly-reviewed Need for Speed: Payback is probably underperforming as well.”
While EA’s stock is up by 38 percent for 2017, its shares have declined 8 percent since October.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to EA for comment, but received none in time for press.
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