Star Wars Battlefront II gets obliterated by Call of Duty WW2 in launch retail sales

The US console industry rose by 9 per cent this year, on the back of strong sales across the board. Call of Duty WWII led the charge with 4.4 million units sold at retail according to NPD, obliterating the competition. This needn't have been the case, though.

Star Wars Battlefront II should have been a sure-fire win, launching with what is arguably the world's most popular sci-fi franchise, in tandem with a mainline movie in the form of The Last Jedi. The core gameplay is stunning, and the visuals are simply unbeatable. But in typical EA fashion, the company's greed derailed the game.

EA's loot crate "pay to win" fiasco scuppered any chances of Battlefront II taking on Call of Duty, and apparently, even prevented it from taking on its predecessor.

Battlefront II sold just 882,000 units in November, and while Call of Duty had a two week head start, that doesn't really account for the sales gap. Additionally, the previous Battlefront game, despite how lacklustre it was, managed to sell 2.1 million units in its first month. Digital sales have grown since 2015, but again, that doesn't really account for the drop off. The negative reaction to Battlefront II's pay-to-win mechanics undoubtedly hurt the game.

Star Wars Battlefront II also removed its in-game monetization too while EA "rebalances" the progression system. Call of Duty WW2 has loot crates too, but they don't impact competitive play anywhere near as dramatically as Battlefront II's, and thus, avoided backlash. In Battlefront II, paying players could gain an advantage over non-paying players, creating a perverse competitive gap between richer and poorer players. The backlash was palpable, with even mainstream national news outlets reporting on the fallout.

EA has since boosted the amount of credits you get for winning matches, but that doesn't fix the chaotic progression system, which does little to reward players for their time investment. Battlefront II is just, sadly, broken, and it doesn't look like things are going to get better any time soon.

Will EA learn its lesson? Do they even care? I doubt it, but until EA changes its business model, I suspect it will remain the most hated publisher for the foreseeable future.

Jez Corden
Managing Editor

Jez Corden is the Managing Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

18 Comments
  • The damage has been done?
  • nope, its EA....they dont care at all....they will say weve learned and grown then reintroduce the shady crap with a new name and system later on. battlefront 5 should be amazing!!!!
  • Still waiting for the magic $20 buy price.......
  • Same here. I got watchdogs 2 for that same price also.
  • Ouch! Pretty unforgiving, truthful take on this fiasco. Nice article! Couldn't agree more with the gif. EA cares if they don't hit their earnings per share. Hopefully Disney will contract the rights to other publishers in the future.
  • I would buy it, for twenty bucks since I am only mildly interested and I deem this game a better free2play title due to its initial monetization model.
    But more earnestly, I simply wait how well this game does in the future.
  • Blindly supporting EA's practices is the issue here. And by buying this, you are supporting their practices ​​​​​​. Just stick to not buying it this yesr... heck get it in july when nobody cares about it where the game will more than likely go to $15 - $20
  • Sad really. Dice know how to craft some incredible online shooters and EA f'd that all away.
  • This is sad because its still a fun game, even though the MP progression is still being fixed.
  • I have been debating between this and Destiny 2 on sale, I think I am leaning to Destiny now...
  • <p>The industry of loot boxes will never be the same thanks to EA.&nbsp;</p>
  • HAHAHAHA  I remember when they showed this off last summer I said I would get it if it wasn't pay-to-win.  Thankfully, I got to play the game a few days before its release and was disgusted with all the pay-to-win crap and complicated non-progression system.  EA deserves all the failure it gets.
  • Change will occur when they get booted by Disney. Until then no chance, not even when pigs fly.
  • Please, please stop saying "greed" ruined the game. It is good and appropriate that EA wants to make money. If companies can't make money with games, they'll stop making them and we all lose. With your forum to influence many readers and prospective customers, please don't ever suggest that trying to make more money is bad for a business, because that encourages anti-business thinking among consumers which creates perverse incentives and hurts all of us. The real problem was EA's bad planning that ruined the game in that they thought they could make more money with loot crates than without them. They have now learned that's wrong thanks to poor launch sales. It is precisely their "greed" that is teaching them not to do this again.
  • It's precisely their greed that destroyed the sales, there are no excuses here. It's not a 'mistake' that they are learning from, they are reacting to bad publicity because they got caught out. Heck they didn't say they will remove it completely, it will come back later when the news cycle has moved on. EA has been caught lying not once but several times. There are no excuses and this won't be the only franchise they wreck if they keep up this mentality.
  • @TechFreak1, if a business loses sales and therefore revenue from pursuing a bad strategy that they thought would instead make them more money, of course they learn from that. EA's top priority is to make money selling games. As long as the microtransaction approach doesn't make them money, they will abandon it. They may try some other variant on it, hoping to preserve aspects of it, but ultimately, they'll only do it if it makes them money. I'm not sure if you're claiming otherwise. I absolutely agree that they will wreck other franchises if they do this again. And they know that. All businesses pay very close attention to anything that affects their sales (up or down), especially when they paid a huge sum for rights to the Star Wars licensing. On the other hand, if there are enough players out there who disagree with us and are happy with microtrasactions for non-cosmetic facets to a AAA game, then EA will continue the process and we'll have to accept that we're in the minority. Personally, I HATE that and will not play a game like that, but if most people feel otherwise, than good for EA for offering customers what they want. Fortunately, based on the terrible sales, it looks like the market agrees with us and this may have permanently put a stake through the heart of non-cosmetic microtransactions and loot boxes for a AAA game, not just by EA, but by the whole industry who is absolutely watching this.
  • EA don't give a crap. They are just pushing to find the line where they can milk gamers for extra cash without to much media attention. It is greedy to sell a game for £50 then make it so player have to pay to win.
  • If so, then it's also bad business. The only way they can make money doing this is if most customers don't mind and are willing to both buy the game and then also pay for the microtransactions. And if so, then those of us who hate this practice (and I'm 100% with you on hating it), are in the minority. Obivously, EA should do what it can to monetize their hard work and expensive Stare Wars license. Hopefully, there are enough of us who won't buy a AAA game with microtransactions and loot boxes for non-cosmetic features that EA loses money from this. In that case, it's their "greed" that will stop them from trying this again. Or to put it another way, it's the customers and the market (what do we buy) that determines whether or not something a company tries will become a standard practice. Every business has an ethical obligation to try to make and maximize profit, which is what so many here are childilshly calling "greed." I'm all for boycotting if you hate the practice -- that's the only way the company will change. If they make a profit, then that just means that most peoeple disagree and your beef is not with the company but with your fellow customers who think you're wrong (I don't -- I agree with you on the practice sucking, but I also support EA as a business offering customers what they want as indicated by their spending).