It's my opinion that stock prices don't necessarily reflect anything more than perception among Wall Street types. Still, I couldn't help but notice the small but significant drop in EA's stock over the past few weeks.
As one of the few game publishers are listed on the NASDAQ, EA is one of those companies that actually has to worry about the concerns of its stockholders. By contrast, companies like Valve and Gearbox Software are privately owned and have no such worries.
Following the announcement from EA that they would temporarily disable microtransactions in Star Wars Battlefront II, stock value dropped by 2.5 points for shares of the company. That means traders on Wall Street seem to have lowered their expectations for the company's immediate fortunes.
At least that's the interpretation offered by outlets like CNBC, GameSpot and Fortune. EA's decision effectively cuts off a stream of recurrent consumer spending that would have almost certainly been a massive source of revenue. Consider that the Ultimate Team modes in EA's FIFA, Madden and NHL franchises generate about $650 million in annual revenue.
The markets have yet to open again, so we'll see what happens then. It's worth noting though that, at $108.82 a share, EA's stock price is significantly lower than where it was way back in October 6, the day the company held an open beta for Battlefront II, which is when the price was at $120.09 a share.
EA insisted to the United States Securities & Exchange Commission last week that removal of the microtransactions is "not expected to have a material impact on EA's fiscal year 2018 financial guidance," and still expects to make $5.075 billion in revenue and $1.136 billion in profits.
As for Battlefront II, EA and DICE insist that microtransactions will be added back eventually, but it remains to be seen when and in what form. DICE boss Oska Gabrielson said, "We have created a game that is built on your input, and it will continue to evolve and grow."