Gamers livid over Electronic Arts' in-game moneymaking strategy in its new "Star Wars Battlefront II" title are overreacting, according to one Wall Street firm.
"We view the negative reaction to Star Wars Battlefront 2 (and industry trading sympathy) as an opportunity to add to Electronic Arts, Take-Two, and Activision Blizzard positions. The handling of the SWBF2 launch by EA has been poor; despite this, we view the suspension of MTX [micro-transactions] in the near term as a transitory risk," KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Evan Wingren wrote in a note to clients Sunday.
"Gamers aren't overcharged, they're undercharged (and we're gamers). … This saga has been a perfect storm for overreaction as it involves EA, Star Wars, reddit, and certain purist gaming journalists/outlets who dislike MTX," Wingren wrote.
Shares of Electronic Arts have declined 10 percent month to date through Monday. Wall Street is worried controversy over EA's "Star Wars Battlefront II" in-game monetization model will hurt the video game's sales.
Wingren noted there is now a "slightly higher probability" the title will not hit his 13 million sales unit forecast.
The analyst estimated cost per hour for a typical "Star Wars Battlefront II" player. He said if a gamer spent $60 for the game, an additional $20 per month for loot micro-transaction boxes and played around 2.5 hours a day for one year, it comes out to roughly 40 cents per hour of entertainment. This compares to an estimated 60 cents to 65 cents per hour for pay television, 80 cents per hour for a movie rental and more than $3 per hour for a movie watched in a theater, according to the firm's analysis.
"If you take a step back and look at the data, an hour of video game content is still one of the cheapest forms of entertainment," he wrote. "Quantitative analysis shows that video game publishers are actually charging gamers at a relatively inexpensive rate, and should probably raise prices."