There’s been a lot of talk this week about Star Wars Battlefront II. However, no amount of reviews or message board chatter has topped the level of fan rage at the microtransactions which seem to permeate EA DICE’s newest title. That being the case, it seems that EA actually listened to their fans, and is (at least temporarily) pulling microtransactions from the game. But is it enough to help the embattled developer?
In a blog post from November 16, EA DICE’s general manager Oskar Gabrielson wrote:
“We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases. 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. 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.”
Up until this change, gamers could purchase crystals and crates with real money, allowing them to improve their gear and get a proverbial leg up on the game. However, many fans rejected this concept, citing the unfairness of “pay-to-win” mechanics. The spending of real money to obtain these crates would certainly expedite the (normally hours-long) process of unlocking all of the game’s heroes, and even though EA had slashed the cost of the heroes on Monday, November 13th, fans were already in an uproar.
Fans showed their disdain in other ways, as well. For those who frequent message boards, one of the most impressive was that the controversy also gave way to the most downvoted comment on Reddit ever (that really is a feat, dear readers), which just happened to come from EA’s Community Team. Additionally, CNN picked up the story of the blowback, stating that “The new Star Wars video game is under attack”.
We’ve talked before about microtransactions, and specifically how EA’s monetization of multiplayer titles is affecting the gaming landscape. The question I have after all of this drama is: Why did EA wait until AFTER there was blowback from fans? It has already begun to feel like EA is focusing more on throwing incomplete and heavily monetized content at gamers, rather than giving us quality titles that we can enjoy without feeling like we need to pay through the nose for it.
Before you give me the “well, that’s just capitalism” argument, consider this: Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a GLORIOUS game. It’s so good, in fact, that it has been nominated for Best Narrative, Best Audio Design, Best Performance, and Game for Impact at this year’s Game Awards. Why is that important, you ask? Well, remember that the Ninja Theory title was released in a digital-only format, and it cost gamers almost HALF ($29.99) of the other AAA games out there on the market today. EA DICE released Star Wars Battlefront II at full price (averaging around $60.00), and yet the developer still wants more of our hard-earned money for the same game. Maybe work a little harder on quality first, EA?
EA hasn’t had the best luck with quality content, so maybe that’s where their problem lies. It’s possible that in order to keep going as a developer, they need to squeeze money out of gamers with things like microtransactions, rather than oh, I don’t know…get some more talented people to come build their games??!!? So, cheers to you for trying, EA DICE….and May the Force be with you.
Share your thoughts with us on EA’s decision, dear readers. Do you think that the developer should have waited until everything blew up in their faces, or is it possible that they just lacked forethought in lieu of focusing on money? Let us know in the comments below!