Here’s Why EA’s ‘Star Wars Battlefront II’ Debacle Has Spooked Investors

November 29, 2017, 10:20 AM UTC

The debacle that was the launch of Electronic Arts’ Star Wars Battlefront II has wiped more than $3 billion off the games firm’s stock value, according to a new report.

The idea was to have Battlefront II—a game that already costs $60—make EA a pile of extra cash by forcing players to make lots of in-game purchases to unlock popular characters, such as Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker, more quickly.

Fans got really mad—as in death-threat mad—and almost two weeks ago EA caved, temporarily suspending the in-game purchase system.

“We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases,” said game development manager Oskar Gabrielson at the time.

EA’s investors, however, did not like what they heard. As CNBC reported Tuesday, the company’s stock price has fallen 8.5% over the last month, while that of competitors such as Take-Two and Activision Blizzard has risen.

Industry analysts told CNBC that initial sales of the game were disappointing, but the deeper problem may be wider pushback against the excessive use of in-game monetization. And then there’s the concern on the part of lawmakers that the gaming industry is introducing kids to gambling.

“We think the time has come for the industry to collectively establish a set of standards for [microtransaction] implementation, both to repair damaged player perceptions and avoid the threat of regulation,” Cowen analyst Doug Creutz said, according to CNBC.