EA is such a big corporation that they have launched numerous big hit names in the gaming industry and if there is one thing they are really good at, definitely two things that comes into mind: one is that they like to leave trails of gravestones along their path as they swallow and spit smaller gaming publishers and two, which is they are consistent by the way, is to ruin some of these games upon releasing by shooting themselves in the foot by incorporating microtransactions. If you are lost and baffled by this you can always go to my previous article titled EA’s Fall From Grace to get the summary on EAs backstory.
Currently, this company now has a bad reputation among video gamers. Tagging EA as a big, greedy company – this was acknowledged by current CEO, Andrew Wilson, way back 2013. Five years later, I strongly deem this to be still true. Yes, they have invested in good franchises such as Battlefield and Titanfall and with the recent release of A Way Out – there might be a glimpse of hope for them. BUT let’s talk about the controversial Star Wars Battlefront franchise. EA acquired the license to develop a new game and was launched on September 2015 titled Star Wars: Battlefront and another sequel on 2017 titled Star Wars: Battlefront II. I don’t want this to be a heavy discussion but both games failed miserably, Battlefront I for lack of in-depth campaign storyline, multiple been-there-done-that-feeling moments and for Battlefront II, microtransactions. Well, whatever lacked on the first Battlefront they were able to make it up for the second sequel with such a high price. Battlefront II has now multiple modes to play in and is focused on its online community where upgrading stats, customizing and augmenting your character, addition of new skills and loadouts requires a Star Card which is the mechanic knows as ‘loot box’.
In order for you to have an edge with other players – you may either grind to get the equipment or character you need which takes a longer time or you can easily buy these out and enjoy your time gaming. Which is a lot of bull to a lot of gamers. Well EA actually has an explanation as to why they incorporated microtransactions in their game. Gamers need to understand the video gaming community where a few years ago, a player purchases a cartridge – goes home, plays the game and that’s it! That is the only relationship between a publisher a consumer will only have. Now with modern technology: internet and mobile phones. This has changed the market ever since. Gamers are more connected than ever, which gives EA access to millions of players whether they offer free or in-game purchases. They claim that they give players freedom to choose whether they want to invest further in this particular game. With this scenario, the relationship doesn’t end at the store anymore but it can be upgraded to be better and bigger reflecting the growth of their consumers.
Point taken, EA. But due to that loot box controversy, a lot of protests came in making EA decide to temporarily close it. It got so much publicity that mainstream press sites such as CNN and Huffington Post are referring as possible gambling practices since players won’t know what they are getting. EA released a statement strongly denying the accusations stating that they strive to create a fair and pleasant experience amongst their Players and that they don’t need to spend their money just to succeed in the game. They can always earn boxes through gaming and once acquired it will always be useful in the game. But they definitely forgot to mention that hours of grinding to acquire those Crystals can only be a swipe away if a Player chooses to take advantage of the premium options.
With that being said, I don’t think they ever learned from their mistakes. According to Wedbush Security analyst, Michael Pachter, EA’s stock has dropped ever since they suspended the sales of loot boxes in Battlefront II which will greatly influence their future behavior. The company got too carried away thinking they can get away with it, integrating microtransaction in every game possible. They should start changing their ‘sales initiative’ and be more creative about it. Without degrading Players’ experience. With all the backlash and the unwanted attention, they have created this stigma and other players are turned off probably they don’t even want to have anything to do with EA anymore.
EA needs to stop screwing their players who are the ones making the revenue for them – not their shareholders. EA is still to release Anthem and pushed aside Dragon Age to focus on it more. The community is still talking about them, that little spark could be their salvation so long as they won’t screw that up. There is still that flicker of hope but this great Company might be snuffed out in just a moment’s notice.