Electronic Arts (EA) had big hopes for Star Wars Battlefront II, and many analysts expected it would be one of the year’s top games this summer. But when players got a taste of the game’s monetization strategy, which encouraged them to pay extra for the process of unlocking certain heroes in the game, they revolted, and doubts about the title’s performance began to creep in.
Turns out those doubts may have been well founded. The NPD Group’s monthly ranking of game sales shows Battlefront II massively underperformed in its first month of sales.
“Star Wars Battlefront II sold 882,000 units including bundle units, well below our estimate of 1,720,000 units,” says Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter.
(NPD does not publicly release specific game title sales numbers, nor does the company include digital sales in its totals.)
Pachter estimates digital sales added another 588,000 units, but even added together, that’s “well below” the sales of the original Battlefront, he says.
Under pressure by fans (and, reportedly, Disney executives), EA reversed its strategy right before the launch of Battlefront II and did away with the “loot crate” system entirely. Some critics had likened those to a form of gambling, since there was uncertainty about what a player would receive for their money.
Battlefront II could rally, though. The release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi on Dec. 15 is likely to spur mainstream interest in the game and could resuscitate sales during the critical holiday period.