The internet is a place that shows no mercy for anti-consumerism and if Electronics Arts (EA) didn’t know this before, after the debacle surrounding Star Wars Battlefront II’s (SWBF2) loot boxes and progression system, they know now.
The entire issue began during SWBF2’s beta when players realized that the progression system involved ‘loot boxes’ which is now a common facet of many multiplayer games including Overwatch and Destiny 2. The difference between SWBF2 and other titles involving loot boxes is that in SWBF2, the loot boxes were not merely cosmetic changes that affect weapons or gear, but had actual effects on gameplay as well as characters being locked behind points.
Fans discovered recently that characters such as Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker cost a ludicrous 60,000 points to unlock with other popular characters such as Chewbacca costing 40,000. Redditor ‘TheHotterPotato’ calculated that it would take an average of 40 hours of gameplay to unlock these characters. Casual gamers were outraged at this as there was no way that they could spend that much time on a game just to unlock a fan-favourite character.
In response to this PR disaster, a member of EA’s community team stated that ‘the intent was to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes’. Though this sounds reasonable, the fact of the matter was that all this hard work and effort could be circumvented by paying for coins and unlocking characters which points towards the fact that this entire system was based upon the monetization of the progression in the game.
To quell the anger of the fans, EA has announced that the cost of the characters will now be quartered, so characters such as Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker will now cost 15,000 points or around 10 hours game-time.
In conclusion, EA has once again put corporate greed ahead of their customer’s enjoyment and has most likely paid the price. Though they have tried to solve the problem, the damage has already been done and many fans are boycotting the game. The rest of the gaming industry should take note of how NOT to implement loot boxes into their game.