Just a couple of hours before the full launch of Battlefront II, Electronic Arts has announced that they’re removing in-game micro-transactions completely as they want to rethink their pricing strategy.
A backlash that was huge in the online gaming community on various gaming platforms, forums, and social media. Though EA emphasized the removal of in-game purchases was temporary, it’s apparent that the community is strong and will react negatively to changes that it doesn’t consider good.
Oskar Gabrielson, the EA game developer, noted the radical shift in strategy in a blog post this evening, announcing the new product strategy development.
He said that their goal has always been to build the best possible game for the community – devoted Star Wars fans and gamers. Also, they had an ongoing commitment always to listen, evolve and tune the experience as the company grows. You can see this in both the main adjustments and polish, that they have made over the past few weeks.
But as the company approaches the global launch, it’s lucid that many of gamers feel there are still some problem spots in the design. But the audience feedback is essential in the game development and finding customer complaints solutions. They’ve heard the concerns about possibly giving some players unfair advantages, which is overshadowing an otherwise awesome game. The stated that it was never their intention and that they are working hard to solve the problem.
Battlefront II development team will now spend more time listening, tuning, balancing and adjusting. This means that the option to buy crystals in the game is now offline, and all you will earn the progression through gameplay. The ability to buy crystals in-game will become available soon, but only after they will implement changes to the game.
Micro-transactions have been one of the primary takeaways that the PC/ console gaming community has taken from the mobile gaming industry. What has been a bit harder to adjust for users is that while the “freemium” model has involved free-to-download titles. EA and other major gaming giants have shaped it into a model that works on full-price experiences retailing for $60-$100, to begin with.
That’s mostly been fine though, game players have adapted, and the shelf life of these titles have grown greatly in the face of developing online multiplayer modes. Besides, players can buy personalizations or cool new outfits that demonstrate their dedication.
The grounds to why so many gamers were pissed off by EA’s recent news lay in a fairly important red line where gamers believe that microtransactions should not influence gameplay. Also, they don’t want that to lead to anything close to a “pay-to-win” situation. It was quite clear EA crossed that line, and the community was extremely clear in showing them their point of view.
After an official EA account explained the company’s reasoning, Redditors responded massively down-voting the comment to the lowest rating ever before it. A lot of gaming sites packed with posts with petitioning gamers who had pre-ordered Battlefront II to cancel their orders. Soon, EA responded by saying that they were lowering the in-game credits (crystals) amount that you need to unlock certain characters.
The band-aid solution didn’t satisfy angry gamers. Today’s full court press on taking down micro-transactions completely, it’s clear that this is all a fairly crucial moment for the company that will shape how it considers pricing content in future. It turns out the bottomless realm of in-game purchases may have a bottom after-all.