Analyst blames EA’s Star Wars Battlefront 2 fiasco on the press, Reddit, and video game purists

KeyBanc Capital Markets financial analyst Evan Wingren, who surely makes more money than you do, wants you to know that he’s a gamer too! And he assures you that you’re paying too little for games! In fact, KeyBanc Capital Markets financial analyst Evan Wingren says the real problem with the whole Star Wars Battlefront 2 monetization fiasco – the one that apparently worried Disney enough into making EA turn off microtransactions – is actually the big scary powerful gaming press, some dudes on Reddit, and their “popular press narrative.”

“This saga has been a perfect storm for overreaction as it involves EA, Star Wars, Reddit, and certain purist gaming journalists/outlets who dislike microtransactions,” KeyBanc Capital Markets financial analyst Evan Wingren insists. “Quantitative analysis shows that video game publishers are actually charging gamers at a relatively inexpensive rate, and should probably raise prices.” Indeed, KeyBanc Capital Markets financial analyst Evan Wingren estimates that you’re paying only 40 cents an hour for the average video game, compared to 60 cents for TV and 80 cents for a movie rental! Shit, guys, I’m going to go write EA a check right now.

In other business news, which does not involve the 1% informing us that we unwashed masses should be grateful for the pixels EA is generously donating to us:

GI.biz has polled some random AAA devs on lootboxes too, and they’re all over the map. A Paradox dev suggests lootcrates aren’t “radically worse” than anything that came before. A Vlambeer dev says we’re all right to complain but literally tone-polices complainers and accuses gamers – “populist YouTubers,” specifically – of a “general lack of research and investigation.” A Gearbox dev calls lockboxes predatory and asks everyone to stop using the term lootbox since loot is a good thing (he’s right). A different Paradox dev says young players and Asians are fine being exploited; it’s the olds and Westerners who are complaining (the implication being they can ignore what “dinosaurs” think as Millennials and foreigners will let it slide, I guess?). In other words, EA isn’t the only studio where mouths open and stuff that should not be said in front of customers falls out.

Need for Speed Payback is apparently trying to get out in front of the angry mob with pitchforks and torches by fixing its degenerate business model before the mob remembers it exists, which wasn’t likely anyway, but don’t sully this! The pity for NFSP, which does exist, is that it didn’t listen to KeyBanc Capital Markets financial analyst Evan Wingren’s advice to let this blow over and then charge even more. “Our aim with these changes is to make the progression, especially around the ownership of cars a much more enjoyable experience,” explained developer Ghost Games, which somehow managed to avoid EA’s obvious lie that the business model was designed to engender in players “a sense of pride and accomplishment.” EA should ask them how that’s done.

Let’s end this on a light note. Kotaku has a list of alternatives to lootboxes. I am fond of Groot Boxes myself. But yes. The point is that boxes aren’t the problem. Loot isn’t even the problem. It’s everything else. It’s exploitation. It’s greed. And it’s not having even the grace to blush over either.

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Ken from Chicago

Yes, clearly this is all Bree’s fault and her empire of game news reporter friends picking on the small, plucky band of EA rebels and their alliance of game devs. Shame on you, Bree.

#BigBully ;-)

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haishao

Evan Wingren is an investor analyst for EA. He shouldn’t be taken seriously at all. https://imgur.com/gallery/VpdEe

Woetoo
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Woetoo

Capital Markets financial analyst Evan Wingren says the real problem with the whole Star Wars Battlefront 2 monetization fiasco – the one that apparently worried Disney enough into making EA turn off microtransactions – is actually the big scary powerful gaming press, some dudes on Reddit, and their “popular press narrative.”

So basically everyone else who has an opinion, except EA. Gotcha.

I don’t know about you, but I’m so relieved he’s weighed in on the matter. Because clearly gamers are absolutely shouting out for more input from financial analysts about what make videos games good or bad.

Evan Wingren insists. “Quantitative analysis shows that video game publishers are actually charging gamers at a relatively inexpensive rate, and should probably raise prices.”

So if cinemas show bad movies, but charge less for the tickets – that makes them better?
I’d love to see his quantitative analysis of Witcher 3.

A different Paradox dev says young players and Asians are fine being exploited

And there for me is the quote of the article.

Because if you’re willing to go on record saying any sort of exploitation is fine… you really have been spending way too much time in the company of some really despicable human beings. Jeez guy, grow a conscience.

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mike foster

He’s not wrong about the dollars-to-time value of games (this is one reason so many people focus part of their entertainment budget on say, a WoW subscription that gives hundreds of hours of fun over a movie ticket that gives two). Entertainment-wise, games are definitely under cost.

The problem is that this only makes sense if the idea is all entertainment should be 1:1 in terms of value/cost, which it shouldn’t. Games are designed to be large, multi-hour experiences and no one on earth is going to pay what they pay for a movie (say, $3 an hour, or here in LA closer to $10) to play League for 2,000 hours or Skyrim for 400. Hell, even PC Bangs are priced lower than this, and they literally charge for games by the hour.

Also, gamers aren’t opposed to spending more money if the price isn’t bullshit. People will monetize in your game if you make cool stuff and aren’t a greedy asshole. The issue with Battlefront, since that’s what he’s responding to, is that the game was purposefully designed to FORCE people to spend money as opposed to offering monetization as an option.

Publishers should continue to look for ways to make more money — that’s not criminal and it’s how the industry stays alive, especially in the face of rising costs of development (every tech generation increases the difficulty and cost of developing AAA games considerably). But they should try to bring a careful balance, focusing first on how players will feel when they play and adding monetization as a way to make things more fun, not to make things less un-fun. And it should never impact the core game loop.

The real problem with the current industry is the way many publishers are balanced precariously on the edge of an annual-sequel business strategy. This forces them to make rapid re-dos of stuff that already exists, and since you can’t build something truly innovative and fun that way, you have to look for ways to gate it to force purchases (see: DLC that basically “completes” the game).

I’m not sure what the solution is here, except to hope that more benevolent publishers (I do believe there are some companies that do monetization really well) will survive this mess as the ultra-greedy ones (EA, for example) price themselves out by being dicks.

Of course, this only matters if the protesting masses practice what they preach and don’t actually buy the game and monetize. Which, usually…

Edit: As an aside, it’s been interesting to watch the industry wake up to this. When Riot first tried to publish League, the founders brought the game to a bunch of publishers looking for help and they laughed them out of the room (“a FREE game? but people buy cosmetics? and you don’t plan to make sequels, but to continually update it? lol nice joke”). That’s why Riot is its own publisher. And to be clear since I brought Riot into this, I don’t think we’re perfect either. But I think our approach is at least right, which is “try not to fuck anyone and also not to accidentally change something that will kill the company five years from now.” I don’t envy the ecomm guys, that’s for sure.

Andrew Ross
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Andrew Ross

That’s the problem with emphasizing quantitative findings. Most people use qualitative approaches to life ;P

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Dro Gul

And they would have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids!!!

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Zen Dadaist

How dare these plebes not spend as much money as we want them to on our things!

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Jeffery Witman

Incomes are stagnating for decades. Cost of living is rising rapidly across the nation. Debts, especially from student loans, are at an untenable level. Television, especially cable television, is dying, as are theaters and movie rentals in favor of streaming and VoD.

But this guy thinks the problem is charging too little!

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solrize
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solrize

I think people like this guy are what’s wrong with the world. How much do you want to bet that he’s against net neutrality? They just want to make more money and it’s never enough. There will always be more money to be made and they can’t see anything else. Who cares how many people you have to screw over to make an extra buck?

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PhoenixDfire

Oh For Flips Sake. What is wrong with wanting a game where people can’t bribe their way to the top?

If these games are costing more to develop, then you have to raise the prices. You had to put microtransactions and loot boxes in mobile games because mobile games are too easy to pirate. But they spoilt Deus Ex trying to put in Pay to Win in a single player PC game and then cancelled the series because it didn’t sell as well as they hoped.

Ok the game wasn’t as good as Human Revolution but it was still an enjoyable play but the pay to win caused negative feedback which effected the sales. You really couldn’t play through with the really advanced abilities without buying them from the store.

People will grumble about the higher prices but I’d rather have that than they locking content behind paywalls.