Following the launch of Star Wars Battlefront II, EA have decidedly removed the “pay-to-win” based microtransactions which led to a furious backlash from fans.
Well, hopefully. On first glance this is brilliant. It breathes the tropes of a compelling story portraying a tale about community. In particular, a community which stood up in the face of capitalist greed, found it’s voice and in its moment created the most downvoted comment in Reddit history.
So let’s talk about why nobody trusts EA. Upon the initial outcry, the publishers delivered a comment addressing the situation. In which, they claim in a roundabout way that they had no clue that their actions would be received with such negativity. If we take this notion to be true, then EA have a lot of people to fire. Surely a company with the financial backing and global reach of EA would look to carry out focus groups, surveys and ascertain information on audience trends and patterns across the industry. If the average consumer can work out that the general attitude towards gameplay models with pay-to-win features is negative, then why can’t EA?
Surely a company with the financial backing and global reach of EA would look to carry out focus groups, surveys and ascertain information on audience trends and patterns across the industry.
EA’s main issue is its lack of transparency. If the company had issued an apology, taken the microtransactions from the game and then confirmed to the fan base that this was a permanent resolve as way of apology to its consumer base, then perhaps they’d be able to begin to rebuild the tarnished bridges that they’ve repeatedly blow up over the years.
However, instead their way of apology included a temporary removal of microtransactions for the foreseeable future. Now, that’s not to say that this isn’t something positive, its great to see people so passionate about keeping games as free from paid DLC as possible and for that to create enough pressure to return a result of sorts. Yet, in terms of EA’s public relations it seems like a no brainer. They generate a load of positive headlines by removing the purchasing model, which in turn convinces a larger proportion of consumers to purchase the game and then when the dust settles, they can reintegrate the system back in limiting the overall damage caused. All I’m saying is as a consumer of video games and fan of the Star Wars franchise, I won’t be counting me chickens too soon.