Lucasfilm: Revoke EA's Star Wars License
Lucasfilm: Revoke EA's Star Wars License
EA have had the Star Wars video game license for the last 4 years, and in that time they've proven to their consumers that they honestly don't care about the gameplay experience or content, they'd rather rush out a game that will try and milk as much money out of consumers as possible.
Let's start with Star Wars Battlefront (2015), the game launched with barely any content whatsoever. If I remember correctly there were 5 multiplayer maps and 4 game modes, and that was it. This wouldn't have been a problem if the game was free to play, but it wasn't - EA were charging $60 for an unfinished, sloppy excuse of a video game that almost undoubtedly hurt the Star Wars franchise. The community died out very quickly due to the awful gameplay experience and lack of content, and just to make things worse - EA did what EA always does, tried to milk even more money out of its customers! They released a $50 season pass that actually included MORE content than the original game had! So to get the 'actual experience' you had to spend $110. This was a disgraceful practice at the time and still is to this day.
In 2016 we found out Visceral Games were working on a linear single player Star Wars game, this had a lot of people excited. At E3 2017 we got our first look at this game and again, people were excited. In October 2017 we found out that EA had cancelled this game and that Visceral Games were shutting down. EA told us that the reason the game was cancelled was because 'people didn't want a linear single player experience set in the Star Wars universe, they wanted something else that would allow the player to come back regulalary' - which is just nonsense. Pretty much the whole fanbase were excited for a new single player Star Wars story, however it became quite obvious very quickly why this game was cancelled. They would've struggled at monetizing a single player game, they've tried before and it didn't work because consumers are sick of getting ripped off and having to buy more content after spending $60 on a game. EA seem to think if they make something on a broader scale that has an online component then people will buy in-game content to stay relevant in the game, which again is so morally wrong and just shows how out of touch EA are with it's consumers. Then again, they don't care about their consumers, they only care about the money they can make from them. Yet again another event that will do more harm to the Star Wars brand than good.
And finally this brings me to Star Wars Battlefront 2 which releases tomorrow however some people have had early access since last week. To sum up the game in general, it's bad - actually no wait that's too generous - it's awful. EA has yet again pulled another anti-consumer move and shoved in infamous and unwanted loot boxes into the game, something nobody asked for. These loot boxes were very controversial during the Star Wars Battlefront 2 beta when people noticed that these loot boxes were giving people a huge advantage over other players who didn't purchase them, and since they could be paid for with real money (in the full game not the beta) it essentially made the game pay-to-win which is unacceptable in any video game regardless of the price or content, yet EA had the cheek to do this in a $60 video game. This causes a major backlash online which had such a strong effect that EA even had to comment on the matter saying they would 'rework and revise the system', and now we know that statement was a complete and utter lie.
We now know that the entire online aspect of Star Wars Battlefront 2 was literally built around microtransactions to try and squeeze every single dollar out of the consumer as they could. Let's start with the Star cards, these cards allow you to add upgrades to your character, such as extra health or quicker reload. This would cause a problem in any game as it can make the game unbalanced, however instead of allowing the user to choose what upgrades they want, the user has to unlock these star cards instead! And how does the user unlock these star cards? You guessed it - loot boxes! So yet again when someone pays real world money on loot boxes they can easily have an unfair advantage over players who are unlocking these loot boxes through in-game rewards - essentially making it pay to win. And this has 100% been noticeable while playing online, the game hasn't even fully released yet and people have an unfair advantage over others and it's very noticeable and makes the game so unbalanced that I've already given up on it. It's not just me who's noticed either, all you have to do is search online to see almost everyone who's played it is saying the same thing. The community on this game will die out faster than the original game because of this, people won't buy your stupid loot boxes EA, instead they'll sell the game and buy something else.
The star cards aren't even the worse thing, in Star Wars Battlefront 2 there are special characters you can use once you've earned enough score in game, however not all of them are unlocked. In fact the most common and most loved (debatable) characters are actually locked and need unlocking to use. So how do you unlock them? Does ranking up unlock them? Of course it doesn't, and you wanna know why? Because EA can't monetise the consumer that way. More evidence that EA clearly doesn't care about the consumer and would rather just focus on the money they could try and milk from them. So how do you unlock these characters then? Through an in-game currency known as credits which - you guessed it - can be brought with real-world money! So yet again you can use real money to gain an advantage over other players, yet again making it pay-to-win. But what if you want to unlock these characters through the in-game currency without using real money? Well on average to get enough credits it'll take you a whopping 40 hours - that's not a mistake - 40 hours to unlock ONE character. Just one. So let's be real here, if you want to play as your favourite character then you've either gotta get lucky in a loot box (which you can pay for with real money) or buy credits with real money.
And finally, the week reviewers got their hands on the game to review EA done one of the most scummiest things a game publisher could ever do, they tweaked their in game system to make it seem easier to unlock items in the game without the use of real world money so that journalists wouldn't complain about the awful monetization system the game is built on. You want an example of this? Well Luke Skywalker was 10,000 credits to unlock during this time period, which would take about 6-7 in-game hours to unlock. But when the game actually releases, he will be 60,000 credits which can take up to 40 hours to unlock! And like I said before, they did this to try and make sure journalists wouldn't slate their awful monetization system, they themselves even know it's awful yet they simply don't care because they don't care about their consumers - they only care about the money they can make from them.
All of this is starting to have a major backlash on EA in general, with hundreds of thousands now committing to cancel preorders and boycott the game and future games completely. EA made a reddit post answering concerns of the fan base and I can proudly say that in less than 24 hours of that post going live that it is now the most disliked post in the entirety of Reddit, with a whopping 230 thousand downvotes. This seriously shouldn't be surprising from the company that has won worst company in America for two years in a row. Lucasfilm, if you cannot see that EA is seriously abusing and harming the Star Wars brand then you are part of the problem. The longer you keep partnering and working with EA then the more damaging your famous brand will become. Do the right thing, do it for your consumers - end this nonsense once and for all and give the Star Wars License to a developer or publisher who will actually treat the franchise with care and quality, because if the last 4 years are anything to go by then it's pretty clear that EA doesn't care about either of those things...