Sore about the pay-to-win mechanics forced into Star Wars Battlefront II? We have encouraging news….is EA finally listening?
In one of the biggest upsets in modern video game history, Electronic Arts has caved to massive public pressure and removed in-game purchases from Star Wars Battlefront II, hours before the game’s official release. The removal was so late that the menus to purchase crystals are still there — they’re just blank.
In the past two weeks leading up to the release, Battlefront II has been firebombed with bad press. Just about every news outlet that covers video games has found the over-reliance on purchasable goods unacceptable, and some mainstream outlets have joined in. The microtransactions have affected the game’s review scores, with many a reviewer mentioning it would be a fine game if progression didn’t involve the choice between paying or grinding.
After initially stonewalling, or trying to explain why paying to win was good, EA has finally agreed to see it the consumer’s way. “We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases,” said Oskar Gabrielson, general manager of development studio DICE, in a newly released public statement. “We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing and tuning. This means that the option to purchase crystals in the game is now offline, and all progression will be earned through gameplay.”
There’s one caveat, however — the removal of microtransactions is mentioned as temporary. “The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we’ve made changes to the game. We’ll share more details as we work through this.” As much as we would all like this system to be dropped from the game for good, that’s not so easy considering the corner EA has painted themselves into. They sold their investors on a game that would continue to generate money months or possibly years after its release. They bet the profits for this expensive multimillion-dollar game on the assumption that no one would mind continuing to deposit cash into a product they’d already paid $60 ~ $80 to access. They chose….poorly.
In the end their ultimate solution may end up pleasing no one, but it was an important lesson for EA and the gaming industry to learn. This will be an expensive mistake to clean up, but if fans had not raised their voices, it would have led to a much more expensive, potentially industry-cratering mistake down the line. Despite what the government tells you, greed isn’t good.
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