Editorial by Dungeonbuster

Follow-Up: EA Temporarily Pulls Microtransactions from Battlefront II

Follow-Up: EA Temporarily Pulls Microtransactions from Battlefront II

This is a follow-up to Star Wars Battlefront II's Loot Box Problem, posted on VOG earlier this week.

Late Thursday, EA's Star Wars account tweeted that they had “turned off in-game purchases for #StarWarsBattlefrontII.” defusing part of an extremely contentious issue that erupted into a PR nightmare for both the game and the company on the eve of the game's highly publicized release.

In the days leading up to it, the perception of its in-game loot boxes as “pay to win” had earned the attention of a large swath of outlets ranging from forums such as Reddit to news outlets ranging from Fortune to NPR . The Belgian Gaming Commission also made the news when it was reported they would be “investigating whether or not loot crates in the game should be categorized as gambling.” EA to responded that they were not. 

It's not hard to see why EA had decided to turn off microtransactions for Battlefront II, at least for now. The wave of negative press had also found its way to other mainstream outlets such as CNN and the BBC over the past week.

But Venturebeat also reports that Disney may have had something to do with it as well when Bob Iger, Disney's CEO, apparently contacted EA's CEO, Andrew Wilson on Thursday suggesting that Disney had enough. There is even speculation that Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucasfilm, could have stepped in. 

Just to be clear, EA only has an exclusive license to make the games (DICE is the developer and is owned by EA) – but Disney owns Star Wars. Disney is also notoriously protective of its image and that of its properties, an image that likely does not want any association with the words 'gambling' and 'kids' in the same sentence. They are also no stranger to ending partnerships when it suits them with either games or movies.

At the same time, EA's announcement has only delayed the ability to pay for loot boxes at an especially crucial time for both the game and the company's holiday sales when it will be fresh in the public eye. The system will return according to their own announcement after unspecified changes are made. Whether the reportedly excessive grind to craft those “Star Cards” or earn loot crates will also be a part of those changes is still largely an unknown.

And by the time the system does return weeks or months down the line, the question will be whether or not players – or Wall Street – will care as much then as they do now.

For more discussion on loot boxes and their impact on the gaming industry, check out our gaming shows such as Electric SistaHood and Game BUOY here on VOG, or join us Sunday Night for The Bobby Blackwolf Show and Orange Lounge Radio! You can also join our Discord server to participate in the discussion.
Dungeonbuster quests to discover old games and new, sometimes writing about them when not being devoured by a grue or in space hiding behind an asteroid. You can follow him @Dungeonbuster on Twitter.

Editorial by - 11/17/2017 7:34 PM1254 views


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