The microtransactions are gone from Star Wars Battlefront 2, at least for the moment. The fans, with their days, if not weeks, of outrage over the paid content, have won their fight against Electronic Arts. Just like that, the day before it was set to be officially released, the for-pay currency has been removed from the game.
“We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases,” the official statement reads. “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. The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we’ve made changes to the game. We’ll share more details as we work through this.”
Today, we turned off in-game purchases for #StarWarsBattlefrontII. The game is built on your input, and it will continue to evolve and grow. Read the full update: https://t.co/asGASaYXVp pic.twitter.com/vQSOmsWRgk— EAStarWars (@EAStarWars) November 17, 2017
This follows a disastrous Ask Me Anything session on Reddit, where the game’s developers tried their hardest to convince the fans that a predatory and ill-conceived economy was really the best thing, and could be made more functional with a few tweaks. This happened after EA had already slashed the costs to unlock the game’s most popular heroes by 75 percent.
This happened after damned near everyone who was interested in the game made it clear that the monetization strategy appeared to exist so EA could make extra cash, rather focusing on making a fun, $60 game. EA saw the passion and frustration of the community and apparently decided that it was better to rethink the entire game’s economy rather than lose the money of all the people who seemed to at least want to buy the game.
To be clear, this change also happened after I decided to spring for the more expensive version of the game, with all the gameplay advantages the included, costly Epic cards would have given me. My loss is your gain, it seems.
Listening to players’ feedback about the progression system was the only possible thing EA could do if it didn’t want to run one of its most popular franchises into the ground. The damage had already been done; no one trusted anything the company had to say in defense of these microtransactions, and why would they? There was no plausible argument that would lead anyone to believe the multiple currencies and loot crate-based economy were designed for fun and fairness, instead of solely for profit.
The hatred fans spewed at EA might have seen a bit over the top at first, but there was a very real sense that players saw Battlefront 2’s microtransactions as a kind of beachhead against other companies trying the same bullshit. If players didn’t cut EA off at the knees with this game, everyone else might have thought it was fair game to ram insulting, player-hostile monetization into well-loved franchises.
Who knows what will happen tomorrow — EA seems to be making things up as it goes along at this point — but the company blinked first. This is a win for gamers, and hopefully the conversation can move past the economy and back toward Battlefront 2 itself.
We’ve been playing it, after all. It’s pretty fun.