Star Wars Battlefront II publisher Electronic Arts has responded to the ongoing controversy behind the game’s aggressive monetization by disabling the purchase of in-game currency — for now.
We have already covered the justifiable consumer outrage in response to EA’s aggressive monetization of their flagship holiday release, a successor to their reboot of the vaunted Star Wars: Battlefront franchise.
Their reply almost instantly became the most widely hated post on Reddit. Their minor adjustments to hero unlock rates still left fans with the prospect of $2,100 or 4,500 hours to enjoy the full breadth of a game they will have already purchased. Their mishandling of the situation is worrying high profile investors and analysts alike, despite the monolithic power of the franchise they are milking for every last cent. They are November’s WBIE, but Battlefront goes even further than Shadow of War.
In a last-ditch attempt to stamp out the burning wreckage of what should have been a slam-dunk holiday release, EA has slammed the brakes on in-game loot crate purchases with real-world money. The move might even have helped the game’s fortunes if they had not made their true intentions so readily apparent.
In a blog post by DICE General Manager Oskar Gabrielson, he thanked fans for being “passionate” before asserting that fans have “seen” both “major adjustments, and polish” in these last stages of the pre-release. Gabrielson follows that statement — one with which it seems the vast majority of their fanbase quite obviously disagrees — with an apology to preface their course correction:
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.
Just in case you are in any danger of believing there has been real progress made, the other shoe drops in the very next paragraph:
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.
Not only will progression remain the same for launch, microtransactions will be handily returning at a “later date.” Spoiler alert, for the uninitiated: that will probably be just long enough for the heat to die down and for the holiday sales season to end.
USGamer reports that an EA representative told them the publisher is seeking the “‘right balance’ between those who want to progress through gameplay and those who want what they call an ‘accelerated experience.'”
In saying that they will try and strike a balance for those seeking an “accelerated experience,” EA appears to be suggesting that Battlefront 2 will eventually return to offering the opportunity for players to spend money on accelerators—industry jargon for gameplay boosts that can be purchased with real money.
We will be delivering our own review of Star Wars Battlefront II once it has been released into the wild, rather than basing our experience on the artificially accelerated review build. EA could surprise us — and the community at large — by making real and meaningful changes to their stewardship of one of the most beloved franchises in history.
…And for only $2,100, you too can find out how!
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