UPDATE: With hours to go before launch, Electronic Arts cancels in-game purchases for ‘Star Wars: Battlefront II’

Posted November 16th, 2017

10:16 p.m. UPDATE:

At 8:17 p.m. Thursday, with less than four hours to go until the game’s official launch, Electronic Arts announced on Facebook that it would be suspending all microtransactions for “Star Wars: Battlefront II.”

“As we approach the worldwide launch, it's clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design,” DICE GM Oskar Gabrielson wrote in a blog post shared to the Facebook page. We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn’t get this right.

“We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing and tuning. This means that the option to purchase crystals in the game is now offline, and all progression will be earned through gameplay.”

Today, we turned off in-game purchases for Star Wars Battlefront II. The game is built on your input, and it will continue to evolve and grow.

Posted by EA Star Wars on Thursday, November 16, 2017

The news was met with enthusiasm and skepticism from gamers on Facebook and Reddit. 

Good job, gamers! from gaming


“Star Wars: Battlefront II” drops at midnight. The game, available on XBox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, is a sequel to 2015’s “Star Wars: Battlefront,” which heightened the anticipation for the film “Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens.”

More: Support HQ in Austin assists ‘Star Wars Battlefront’ jedi and stormtroopers

The game promises players the ability to play as such iconic characters as Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca. Like the original “Battlefront,” players are a part of the action in many of the franchise’s pivotal battles. Unlike the original, there is also a new Empire-focused single player campaign mode where you are on a mission to squelch the Rebellion following the death of Emperor Palpatine. 

More: New 'Star Wars' trailer released for 'The Last Jedi'

But gamers are furious at Electronic Arts, the developer of “Battlefront,” for making the game with a money-making strategy that has become all too common lately: loot boxing and microtransactions.

Read on to learn more about the controversy.

What are microtransactions?

Microtransactions are in-game purchases that allow a player to level up, buy more skill sets and unlock levels— loot boxes. These purchases can be made with “currency” earned in-game (such as skill points), but most of these exchanges are made with real-life money, even after a gamer has paid, say, $60 for a brand new game. “Star Wars: Battlefront II” retails for just under $60 for a standard edition on all platforms and just under $80 for a deluxe edition, which includes various upgrades and the ability to play the game early.

The economics of this are about time, not money. Why spend x amount of time earning achievements when you can just pay for them in-game? The problem for many gamers is when the only way to continue playing the game that they already payed full-price for is to continue purchasing smaller items to get the full experience. A $60 purchase becomes an investment in a game that can provide no real-world value to the consumer. 

One of the top-rated posts on the r/gaming subreddit right now is a breakdown of just how much it will cost a gamer to max out every loot box item in “Battlefront II”: 4,528 hours of gameplay (that’s almost 189 days), or $2,100. Or, in the words of one Redditor, “I paid 80$ to have Vader locked?”

What kind of backlash has EA received?

Tons. The r/gaming subreddit is in full anti-EA mode, the game’s User Score on Metacritic is at a 0.9, with 922 negative reviews, and gamers have been cancelling their pre-orders at an alarming rate

More: The Force is with ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

Many people have even urged gamers to petition Disney, which now owns the rights to the “Star Wars” franchise, to sever ties with EA.

What is EA doing about it?

At first, the gaming beheomoth didn’t do much. Once the backlash started, the company held a Reddit AMA, where their response to the microtransaction question became the most downvoted comment on Reddit. 

Later, the refund button on EA’s Origin store appeared to be disabled for just “Battlefront II,” but it was later discovered that the button was disabled storewide. EA is offering refunds for pre-orders for up to seven day after a game launches, but as of right now, the customer support hotline wait to get a full refund for a copy of “Battlefront II” is about an hour.

In response to the backlash, EA has lowered the character unlocking difficulty by 75 percent. But the microtransactions and loot boxes will stay.

What does this mean for EA’s stock?

Wall Street is worried, but not that much. 

"We believe review scores for a game like Star Wars Battlefront are less important, given the strength of the Star Wars brand, but recognize the negative sentiment is a challenge,” according to a note that analyst Michael Olson wrote to clients Tuesday.

At the closing bell Thursday, EA’s stock was valued at $111.60 a share, up 12 cents from Wednesday and up from $79.62 this time last year

Should I buy this game?

It’s up to you. Many gamers are calling for a boycott of this game to show the industry that they don’t want microtransactions in games any more. But if this game turns a profit, EA and other developers will continue to do what they’re doing. 

However, many online are decrying the recent ballyhooing of EA, saying that customers who pre-order games in this day and age deserve what they get.

But whatever you do, there’s always the original “Battlefront II.”  May the Force be with you.