On November 17, EA is going to release one of the most anticipated games of the year: Star Wars Battlefront II. In preparation, EA allowed the subscribers to EA access (EA’s subscription-based game service for Xbox One and PS4) to play the game early. Unfortunately, the reception has been less than stellar (pun intended).
The game, like many other games released in late 2017, is being widely bashed for its use of loot boxes. Players claim the game is rigged to force players who want to unlock all the characters to pay real-world dollars to get them, with Reddit user MBMMaverick making a post on r/StarWarsBattlefront titled merely “Seriously? I paid 80$ to have Vader locked?”
The post gained traction rapidly, increasing by 46k points at the time of this writing, making it the top post of all time on the subreddit by over 10k. The post garnered so much attention that EA decided to respond to Maverick. EA’s response reads:
“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.”
The comment is currently at -287k points, making it the most downvoted comment in Reddit’s 12-year history, beating out a post that was explicitly asking for downvotes. It seems people are seeing through EA and claiming they are just trying to cover up a lousy monetization pay-to-win model of the game. Many people argue that this is a crushing blow for EA, and they will need an excellent repose to recover, but I’m not so sure. EA is infamous for their marketing, and whether this backlash was intentional or not, EA seems to be firm believers that any publicity is good publicity.
Regardless of EA’s intention for the comment or my thoughts on the model they chose for the game, the company’s history leads me to believe that EA higher-ups may not be as upset about this as you expect. I encourage readers to follow the story; if Battlefront II’s monetization turns out to be as bad as people claim, the only way to stop this in the future will be not to buy the game.