I can’t believe it. After fighting an uphill battle for what seems like years, players have finally stuck it to the big man. Star Wars: Battlefront II, an otherwise good game, was broken to the time up to it’s launch, angering many gamers and Star Wars fans alike. Microtransactions and loot boxes directly linked to player progression plagued the game.
What made matters worse, players who did not want to spend more money on the game had to grind for insane amount of time. One gamer did the math and found that it could take around 40 hours to unlock Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader. To unlock everything in the game you had to spend hundreds of dollars or thousands of hours grinding. Clearly the game was broken and built around microtransactions.
Well, yesterday it was announced that the game would be removing it’s microtransactions, at least for the moment. In a move that is sure to resound among the gaming community, we’ve finally managed to create enough of an uproar to force a developer to change it’s game. Let’s take a quick look at how this could have come about, shall we?
The most obvious reason change had to come was due to sales. Thousands of players were returning or refunding their pre-orders after learning about the broken system. EA eventually issued a statement after being pressed on the subject of their greed infested game, and it instantly became the most disliked post in Reddit. So much hate was aimed at their game that EA then tried to do an Ask-Me-Anything to appease the masses, which went about as well as you would expect. In a ditch effort to shut fans up, they lowered the prices of heroes while at the same time quietly lowering the end of game reward. This wasn’t even close to a step in the right direction, but then the story really took off.
CNN did a piece on Disney, who owns the rights to Star Wars, and how they were connected to virtual in game gambling. Disney, being the family oriented company that they are, were probably infuriated with being connected a gambling-like microtransaction infested game, since a majority of the players would be people under the age of 18, the legal gambling age. Disney allegedy contacted EA and instructed them to shut the game down or fix the loot boxes.
At the same time, the UK launched an investigation into the game to determine whether or not loot boxes were indeed a form of gambling. These two factors along with major loss in sales were finally enough to push the people behind Star Wars: Battlefront II to remove their infectious microtransactions.
I would also like to note that it wasn’t EA that announced the removal of the microtransactions, but DICE. In a blog post, DICE GM Oskar Gabrielson stated:
“Our goal has always been to create the best possible game for all of you – devoted Star Wars fans and game players alike. We’ve also had an ongoing commitment to constantly listen, tune and evolve the experience as it grows. You’ve seen this with both the major adjustments, and polish, we have made over the past several weeks.
But as we approach the worldwide launch, it’s clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design. We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn’t get this right.
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.”
Perhaps it was DICE that made the call, and not EA. Either way, it’s a good thing that the gaming community has finally been heard. This is truly a historic event as it seems to the first time we’ve managed a victory over EA, one of the most despised companies in the world.
Here’s hoping things continue to change for the better.
– Gamer By Night