EA Games (Electronic Arts) has made headlines this week for all the wrong reasons. The company's new video game Battlefront II is being harshly criticised for its use of artificial 'paywalls' that will require gamers to fork over additional cash for features that would otherwise take countless hours to unlock.
One website calculated that it would take £1,600 to unlock everything in the new game!
Furthermore, EA's response to the backlash has quickly become the most downvoted comment in the history of Reddit.
Let that sink in:
Ouch - apology not accepted then.
The negative news has just not affected the reputation and sales of Battlefront II; the fallout has had a negative reputation crossover to the EA and Star Wars brands, which have been deemed guilty by association.
The coverage of the negative content is vast. It has spread like a virus and taken over - and monopilised - the search terms for the three associated brands. This will no doubt have a huge impact on the online reputation of these juggernaut brands.
All three brands are hugley poplular online and generate a lot of natural traffic.
Let's take a look at how many times the following search terms have been Googled over the past 30 days:
Star Wars - 5,000,000 pm
EA Games - 301,000 pm
Battlefront - 165,000 pm
Now, let's take a look at the how the recent news has affected the three brands online; the impact it has had on their traffic conversion; and the influence it will have on the opinions being formed by online users:
Star Wars - 1 organic negative plus 2 negative Top Stories
EA Games - 3 organic negative plus 3 negative Top Stories
Battlefront - 3 organic negative plus 3 negative Top Stories
Based on the position of the organic negative search results on Page One (so, not even including the Top Stories shown above) as well as our own research into the click-through rate of each negative link based on its position:
8.1% of page one traffic for the search term Star Wars will now be clicking through to a negative result. That's aproximately 371,385 people per month!
10.3% of page one traffic for the search term EA Games will now be clicking through to a negative result. That's aproximately 28,429 people per month!
14.8% of page one traffic for the search term Battlefront will now be clicking through to a negative result. That's aproximately 22,393 people per month!
When you combine the three search terms, you end up with over 420,000 people clicking through to a negative news story!
EA Games has long had a reputation for extortionate DLC and microtransactions. A £50 game no longer gives you everything promised on the back of the box - unless you're willing to pay again. This will have also damaged the Star Wars and Battlefront brands, which could sour and strain the relationship between the gaming partners.
The news hasn't escaped the interest of Wallstreet either; recent developments have investors and shareholders worried about the long term impact this could have on these brands and their reputations.
Battlefront II might end up being a great game - but the force isn't strong with its search results.
Click below for your free Online Reputation Management Business eBook