EA is in the news again, and it is not great. In the Star Wars Battlefront sub-Reddit, a user asked, “Seriously? I paid $80 to have Vader locked?” This outrage is nothing new and many people have been voicing their complaints with the loot box system being used in Star Wars Battlefront II over the past couple of months. In fact, people have been complaining about loot box systems for much longer than that even. This normally wouldn’t be too bad for EA, until one of their reps stepped in it. An official member of EA responded to the original post by saying:
This raises a lot of questions and concerns from gamers, and rightly so. Many readers are seeing the line, “As for cost, we selected initial values based upon data from the Open Beta and other adjustments made to milestone rewards before launch” to read as, “We looked to see how slow it would be for players to get enough in-game currency to unlock it so that we can charge more real money for the player to quickly unlock a character.” I don’t blame the upset gamers either. In a free-to-play game, companies need to make money somehow so they have microtransactions that allow players to use real money to speed things up or purchase characters faster, etc. Gamers can get a little upset at that, but overall they’re willing to deal with it.
The reason this is a very negative thing for a AAA game like Battlefront II, is that players already pay $60 to play the game at all. To then have high costs like $80 to get a new character is a bit absurd. Yes, people can play the game and save up the in-game currency, but before this Reddit post blew up, it was reported to take around 40 hours to get one of these characters. By having such a high wall, the game was in a pay-to-win scenario where the only way to really win is by paying actual money. This is a crappy model and is the reason I have stopped playing several games. This model only has one purpose: make the company (EA in this case) as much money as freaking possible.
Another problem with the statement from the EA rep was the first line, “The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.” No one I know is buying this bullcrap. If it’s meant to deliver a sense of accomplishment, don’t have it be purchasable with real money. It’s not an accomplishment if I just go in and pay real money to get something. The only accomplishment there is giving money to a company that does whatever it can to extort its players.
It is important to note that EA has lowered the cost of heroes with in-game currency by 75%. The motive behind that is debated heavily, too. But is that enough to win fans over again? I know that for me, it’s still a problem. Yes, they’ve slashed the price, but they still allow people to have in-game advantages because they have more money available to spend on a game. To me, if you want to let players pay more money for cosmetic things, that’s fine. The moment you give someone an advantage for paying money, we have a problem.
Star Wars Battlefront II is available to play November 17th on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC.