The EA Fiasco
It’s no secret that EA, short for Electronic Arts, is one of, if not the most hated gaming company. Since many of them are not gamers themselves, EA is motivated by profit first and foremost and is willing to do just about anything to maximize their gains, even if that means chopping up their games and selling them bits at a time or grinding good developers into the dirt. Perhaps the most notorious thing they’ve done is bring about microtransactions, which is offering players ‘booster packs’ of sorts that offer some single-use powerups or cosmetic items, at the cost of anywhere between $1 and $99, depending on the size of the pack sold.
While EA has been doing shady business like this for years, it seems that their greed has finally caught up with them. Their next big title, Star Wars Battlefront II, has been meet with overwhelming backlash from the gaming community. Initially, EA was planning on using microtransactions to sell in-game loot crates that would progress a player’s abilities. Although these loot crates can be obtained just by playing the game, players soon realized that with this system one could buy a lot of crates with real money to gain a major advantage in multiplayer, and the game would become a dreadful ‘pay-to-win’ experience. However, this is only part of the story.
Another issue that has consumers up in arms is that iconic ‘hero’ characters, such as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, would take dozens upon dozens of hours to unlock them. Although these hero characters cannot be obtained with microtransactions, the in-game credits used to buy them are also used to by the previously mentioned loot crates, which can be bought with both in-game and real money. EA made it intentionally difficult to unlock new things so that players are more likely to become impatient and give in to using real money to buy loot crates for standard characters. It is estimated that unlocking everything in Battlefront II would require over 4,500 hours of gameplay, or $2,100 in microtransactions.
Ridiculous as this is, gamers have come together to send a message to EA, and they’ve been loud and clear. After EA showed what they had in mind for Battlefront II, they have received so many refund requests that they have actually removed the refund button from their website, forcing players to call EA to get their money back. Additionally, this whole fiasco has caused EA’s stock to fall by no less than 7%. The company has responded by saying that they will be removing all in-game purchases from Battlefront II, and are looking into new ways to use microtransactions in a way that would be deemed more ‘fair.’ However, many gamers are urging one another to continue protesting EA and boycotting their products until microtransactions are gone completely.