Over the course of the last few years, microtransactions in the form of loot boxes, items, boosts and more, have become an increasingly more prevalent addition to videogames.
Initially a concept that was used to monetise mobile games, microtransactions have gradually become more tolerated amongst the gaming community. That being said, EA has evidently crossed a line with their latest release, Star Wars Battlefront 2.
Upon release, it took 40 hours to unlock Darth Vader in the game. The fact he was locked in the first place, caused a Reddit user to post this. It was actually this post that marked the beginning of the Reddit onslaught against EA.
(Not so fun fact: it takes 4528 hours or $2100 to unlock everything in Star Wars Battlefront 2)
If you look at the “top” comment for that Reddit post, you’ll see the most downvoted comment of all time, by far. It was, of course, from EA themselves stating that:
“The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.”
As you can see, that didn’t go down well. At all.
This sparked the fire of EA hate that is still raging on at this very moment. Since then, EA has backpedaled numerous times, updating the game and attempting to douse the flames.
In the initial Star Wars Battlefront 2 update, EA reduced the amount of time it takes to unlock heroes by 75% (you can read the full statement EA released alongside the game update by clicking here).
However, they did not mention that the rewards for completing the campaign were also reduced by 75%.
Again, this was immediately spotted by Reddit and fueled the fire even more. At this point, considerable damage had been done to the already poor reputation of EA (who has been voted as the worst company in America consecutively).
At this point, more or less every noteworthy videogame journalism site had published an article about the actions taken by the notorious videogame publisher. Even the BBC and Forbes reported on the situation.
Upon seeing all of this, many gamers decided that EA didn’t deserve their hard earned money. Pre-order cancellations occurred in droves, yet even this wasn’t without it’s fair share of controversy!
Discovered by another Reddit user and shared via a post, EA removed the refund button from their website, meaning customers had to phone customer service in order to cancel. Bad PR decision after bad PR decision seems to be the trend here.
Earlier today, EA released another statement revealing that microtransactions had been removed from the game entirely. That’s a win for gamers around the world right? You’d think so, however upon reading the official statement, you can see that it says this:
“The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we’ve made changes to the game.” – Oskar Gabrielson, GM, DICE
It seems like the lessons are not being learned by the Star Wars Battlefront 2 team, as this was immediately picked up and highlighted by, you guessed it, Reddit.
When will this nightmare end for EA, Dice and Star Wars? Who can really say. I’d advise keeping your eyes locked to the Gaming Subreddit for the latest news regarding this PR fiasco.
Finally, in typical internet fashion, we’ve found some memes pertaining to this whole ordeal!