EA Dun Goofed

Ryan Samlalsingh - 2T Computer
Posted on: November 25, 2017

Electronic Arts (EA) has not been able to catch a break regarding recently launched Star Wars Battlefront II (2017), the sequel to Star Wars Battlefront (2015), an action game known for team-based multiplayer combat set in the Star Wars universe. Since the series launched with the original Star Wars Battlefront (2004) on PC, PS2 and Xbox, it’s never been subject to critical acclaim but has often had mixed to positive reviews and has earned a cult fanbase, just by being a Star Wars game. EA, an Icarus of greedy practice in the video game industry, thought they could heavily exploit this fanbase for cash, but they were wrong. The initially implemented payment model that Battlefront II (2017) uses for in-game content after the consumer has already purchased the game, so-called “microtransactions”, has sparked public outrage.

The apex of the hate for microtransactions in Battlefront II (2017) came when an official EA account responded to a reddit post from November 12, wherein someone who purchased the game at full price was venting about his inability to play as Darth Vader without paying additional microtransactions. EA responded in classic PR-speak to the post, saying that “The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes”, a response has become the most downvoted reddit comment of all time, with nearly 700k downvotes at this time, simply because EA is claiming they expect consumers to play the game for unreasonable amounts of time to unlock content when they’re clearly trying to persuade consumers to pay for microtransactions. Number-crunchers on reddit have found that unlocking Darth Vader would take upwards of 40 hours of constant gameplay, unless one were to pay hundreds of dollars of microtransactions. However, one can’t directly buy playable characters in Battlefront II (2017). The convoluted microtransaction system implemented in the game made it such that there’s no fixed price for any specific in-game playable character, so paying microtransactions is a gamble with real world money, which didn’t impress lawmakers around the world.

Following all the backlash, EA suspended all in-game purchases one day before the game launch, but that didn’t stop state representative of Hawaii Chris Lee from holding a news conference in which he called Battlefront II (2017) a “Star Wars themed online casino designed to lure kids into spending money” and stated he will consider legislation to prevent games with such overt gambling being marketed to kids. Belgium’s Minister of Justice has likewise stated that following the results of an investigation into these microtransactions, he wants the EU to act against games that use similar microtransaction systems.

With the public and lawmakers scrutinizing Battlefront II (2017) so heavily, it’s possible that EA might be ironically forced to sell a game free of microtransactions or face more backlash, when the original plan was to profit heavily from them. With this step to squeeze money out of Star Wars fans, EA has flown too close too the Sun, and lost all it’s money.

Aside: The 4 main games in this series are, in chronological order of release

  1. Star Wars Battlefront

  2. Star Wars Battlefront II

  3. Star Wars Battlefront

  4. Star Wars Battlefront II

Seem dumb? I agree. But this is why I felt compelled to reference the game as Battlefront II (2017).