Wall Street believes that Star Wars Battlefront 2's loot box controversy won't harm EA, with an analyst calling the pushback against the publisher "overdone."
EA pulled an unprecedented about-face on microtransactions after a major consumer backlash, with the publisher temporarily removing paid currency in Battlefront 2 prior to its launch. It's unclear whether or not microtransactions will ever be reinstated in the game, but a Wall Street analyst believes that the company won't be hurt by the move.
Gerrick Johnson, Director at BMO Capital Markets, posted a note to his clients in which he shared his thoughts on the EA controversy. Increasing his own target stock price for the publisher by 14.82%, Johnson claimed that the company wouldn't face long-term ramifications for the uproar surrounding Battlefront 2's loot boxes and microtransactions:
“While the cancellation of micro-transactions in Star Wars makes for an intriguing headline, the impact sounds much larger than it really is. Over the longer term, EA is experiencing a tailwind that is benefitting the entire video game software industry: the transition of physical software sales to digital downloads, which offer higher margins and the opportunity for incremental add-on sales and multi-player online services," he wrote.
"Consumer pushback to EA’s Star Wars in-game monetization strategy has undermined some investor confidence and has driven the stock lower. After further consideration, we believe the reaction may have been overdone, providing a buying opportunity for what is, otherwise, a solid long-term story.”
DICE and EA faced enormous pressure to remove microtransactions from Battlefront 2, with the intense response to their inclusion in the game even provoking a response from some US politicians, who lobbied to have loot boxes officially acknowledged as gambling.
It's unclear whether or not Battlefront 2's microtransactions will have any long-term impact on the gaming industry, though it seems that analysts in Wall Street believe EA will be just fine following this ordeal.