Star Wars Battlefront II has sold fewer physical copies than the previous game in the series. While no specific reason was given for the decline in sales, the odds are that the microtransactions controversy that the game has been embroiled in has had some kind of negative effect on the number of units moving out of stores.
First week sales of the game are down 50% compared to Battlefield 1. 55% of Battlefront II's physical sales were on PlayStation 4, 44% were on Xbox One, and 1% were on PC. These figures are in stark contrast to UK game retailers speaking to GamesIndustry.biz last month who had predicted that the latest Star Wars title would outperform Battlefield 1 based on pre-order sales.
Noteworthy, this week it failed to remove the now 3 weeks old Call of Duty: World War II from the top place in the UK retail market sales, sliding into second place ahead of Fifa.
Although physical sales of Star Wars Battlefront II are lower than expected, the cause may not be entirely attributed to the microtransactions controversy. Physical sales of games in the UK retail environment are down overall, with retailers reporting that some sequels have moved fewer units than the predecessor titles in their respective franchises. This follows a growing trend, as in 2016 UKIE found that retail sales were down over 15% in comparison to 2015. A financial report from Electronic Arts has shown that digital sales make up for 36% of a game's revenue, a 6% increase over last year. UK retail stats have shown that physical sales are down 16% overall in comparing October 2017 to October 2016, so it's reasonable to assume that this new market environment accounts for some of the lower sales numbers for Battlefront II.
Whatever the case may be, Electronic Arts has responded to the microtransactions controversy by dialing back the costs of goods and then removing the system from the game entirely. This has also led to them re-evaluating other games progression systems, including the recently released Need For Speed: Payback. Whether the lower numbers were caused by the slumping physical sales market or the furor over microtransactions, it seems that Star Wars Battlefront II is having trouble keeping up with its forebears.
What do you think of Star Wars Battlefront II having lower physical sales compared to the previous game in the series? Do you think the microtransactions controversy was part of the reason for this decline? Let us know in the comments below!