A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, EA and DICE presented Star Wars Battlefront 2 as a sort of apology for the shortcomings of 2015’s Star Wars Battlefront. The game was poised to regain the trust of fans by offering many features that were left out of the rushed 2015 release, including space battles, a full single player campaign, and more. Unfortunately, the narrative has changed quite dramatically over the last few weeks, thanks to the game’s controversial use of loot boxes. Many consumers are up in arms over loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront 2, but one analyst thinks gamers are overreacting.
Analyst Evan Wingren of the Wall Street firm KeyBlanc Capital Markets sent a note to his clients this past Sunday, explaining the Star Wars Battlefront 2 loot box controversy and his opinion on it. Wingren blames the controversy on a “perfect storm” of factors, since it involves an often-criticized publisher in EA, the massively popular Star Wars brand, Reddit, and “purist” gaming journalists. Wingren feels as though gamers are actually undercharged for video games, and thinks that video game publishers should raise their prices.
“Quantitative analysis shows that video game publishers are actually charging gamers at a relatively inexpensive rate, and should probably raise prices.”
Wingren’s comments are sure to upset gamers, especially since the loot box outrage has a lot more validity than it did last Sunday. After all, gamers aren’t the only ones upset about EA’s use of loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront 2; various government entities have stepped forward to call the business model “predatory,” with a push to have loot boxes in video games labeled as gambling.
This movement isn’t unique to any one area of the world, either. Multiple European governments have launched investigations into loot boxes, with the Dutch Gaming Authority and the Belgium government both looking into whether or not they should be considered gambling. Additionally, a French senator wrote a letter to online gambling regulator ARJEL in an attempt to see more loot box regulations put in place.
The push for loot boxes to be labeled gambling has gotten some traction in the United States as well. Most notably, the state of Hawaii has announced that it plans on introducing legislation that would outright ban the sale of games with loot boxes to minors on a nationwide scale.
So while Wingren may feel as though gamers are overreacting to the loot box controversy, it’s clear that various world government officials disagree with him. Wingren also fails to acknowledge many key points against loot boxes in his note as they pertain to Star Wars Battlefront 2, such as the extreme amount of grinding required to unlock characters like Darth Vader, and how the design of loot boxes potentially prey on those with addictive personalities. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how this loot box controversy plays out, and if video game publishers take Wingren’s advice and trade loot boxes for more expensive games.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.