Star Wars: Battlefront 2 loot box controversy hits EA where it hurts

The controversy surrounding the loot boxes found in Star Wars: Battlefront 2 should be well known to most by now. Even before the game launched, Star Wars fans were up in arms over the game's heavy handed progression system, which incentivized purchasing loot boxes in a way few other pay-to-play games have in the past. This led to a massive outcry on sites like Reddit, where EA's explanation for this system became the most downvoted comment in Reddit history.

Then, in a surprise about-face, EA announced that it would disable the ability to purchase crystals – the game's premium currency – mere hours before Battlefront 2 launched. This change of heart seems to be a temporary one, as EA and DICE said that the ability to purchase crystals will return once the game's progression system was made a little more user-friendly.

What that means is anyone's guess, but EA's decision to pull microtransactions from the game seems to be a case of too little, too late. GamesIndustry today shared this week's boxed sales results for the UK, and it seems that Battlefront 2 isn't performing in line with retailer expectations. Though the title debuted in the second spot, boxed sales are 50% lower than Battlefield 1, a game which many retailers were expecting Battlefront 2 to outperform.

1. Call of Duty: WWII

2. Star Wars: Battlefront 2

3. FIFA 18

4. Pokemon UltraSun

5. Pokemon UltraMoon

6. Assassin's Creed Origins

7. The Sims 4

8. LA Noire Remastered

9. Super Mario Odyssey

10. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2

Making matters worse, sales for Battlefront 2 were a whopping 61% lower than sales for 2015's Battlefront. While these numbers only include physical copies of the game sold and digital is expected to be an ever-growing slice of total sales, whatever digital copies of Battlefront 2 have sold thus far won't be enough to bridge the gap. At least in the UK, it's clear that Battlefront 2 is performing under expectations.

Instead, Call of Duty: WWII held the top spot for the week ending November 18. You can see the full top 10 in the list above, which holds few surprises outside of the fact that LA Noire Remastered was popular enough to make an appearance on it. Hopefully these lower-than-expected sales make EA and Disney really consider the future of microtransactions in the Battlefront series, because it would be a shame to let greed destroy it entirely.