Just remember it’s temporary
Sometimes, with a bad decision, there are rare cases when a company will come to their senses. But we can’t be sure yet as to whether EA is one of these cases.
Bad decision? Yes. Is EA coming to their senses? Maybe.
If you have heard any gaming news in the past month or so, you have probably heard about Battlefront II. EA’s latest Star Wars title almost singlehandedly reignited public ire against loot boxes and microtransactions—so much so that there has been talk of government regulation.
EA is hardly the only modern company to use loot boxes, but its approach to Battlefront II was especially unpopular.
In Battlefront II, loot boxes weren’t simply used for cosmetics, like Blizzard’s Overwatch. Rather, EA made loot boxes a core component of character progression, with upgrades unlocked by components contained within. All things considered, this translated into weapon upgrades, hero and ship unlocks, and the standard cosmetics all being obtained by luck-of-the-draw.
Of course, where EA truly crossed the line was in making these loot boxes purchasable for real-world money. For most, the eighty-dollar price tag is too much as it is. But for the more privileged gamer, one hundred dollars in loot boxes might be a small expense; one worth the unfair advantage it grants.
There has been an almost internet-wide backlash against EA’s loot box policy. So much so that a Battlefront II thread generated the most downvoted post in all of Reddit history. Yesterday, it finally reached the point where EA agreed to remove its microtransactions—for now.
Oskar Gabrielson, general manager at DICE, had this to say in a released statement:
“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.”
It is important to note that crystals—the loot box-purchasing alternative available only for real-world money—won’t be gone forever. As Gabrielson notes, they “will become available at a later date.” But for now, there is no means for players to flex their wallets to get ahead. For now, at least theoretically everyone is equal.
The problem is hardly solved. Crystals will likely return and there is still the problem of character progression being barred by chance. Though money is no longer a discriminating factor, Lady Luck will still arbitrarily choose some over others.
To those who think EA has ‘fixed’ Battlefront II, you might want to think again. What EA has done it has done for fear of losing its player base. If EA truly cares about its fans, it will do something more to make up for the recent fiasco.