Star Wars: Battlefront II releases on November 17th, 2017. At the time of this writing, that’s just a matter of hours. However, the early access version of the game has stirred up controversy before the game is fully available to the public, shaking the foundations of EA’s business plan.
After users on Reddit discovered a plague of microtransactions in Battlefront II, EA responded with a comment that became the most downvoted post in Reddit history shortly after its appearance. The original post reads “Seriously? I paid 80$ to have Vader locked?” in reference to the hero characters who are locked behind a paywall of in-game currency, one that cannot easily be scaled without paying microtransactions. EA’s reply reads as follows:
The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.
As for cost, we selected initial values based upon data from the Open Beta and other adjustments made to milestone rewards before launch. Among other things, we’re looking at average per-player credit earn rates on a daily basis, and we’ll be making constant adjustments to ensure that players have challenges that are compelling, rewarding, and of course attainable via gameplay.
We appreciate the candid feedback, and the passion the community has put forth around the current topics here on Reddit, our forums and across numerous social media outlets.
Our team will continue to make changes and monitor community feedback and update everyone as soon and as often as we can.
As of this writing–three days after the reply was posted–the comment has over 676,000 downvotes.
Now that EA has seen eviscerating criticism erupting across cyberspace, they have marginally lowered the cost of heroes. In addition, they’ve made official statements that they wish to keep changing Battlefront II until fans are happy.
Here at NextLevel, we’ve posted multiple think-pieces about “paying-to-win” games and locked content. These pieces are critical of poor business practices that sacrifice creativity for profit, but they take a civil approach. The same cannot be said for the storm of social media outcry exploding across Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. The original thread, for example, has been locked, because the replies are stuffed with hateful expletives and mindless rage.
The team here agrees that EA should have consideration for their consumers, but we would also implore our community to be thoughtful when critically analyzing the mistake. Controversy is acceptable and necessary for the industry, but fury is not. Thus, this writer does not condone the manner of criticism EA is receiving, and he hopes that discussion about the video game industry can be healthier in the future.