If you’ve played any video game that’s come out in the past decade, then you will have undoubtedly come across microtransactions. The microtransaction system has been heavily criticized by those in the gaming community. The most recent heavy hitter that has come under fire is EA and it’s newest game, Star Wars: Battlefront II.
‘Battlefront II’ is the most recent addition to this series of popular Star Wars video games. While it hasn’t officially been released yet (scheduled for November 17), many EA Access members were allowed to try out the game during a pre-release. This is when some players discovered that despite paying around $80 for the Star Wars: Battlefront II game itself, they would need to pay an additional (and relatively higher than average) amount to unlock iconic Star Wars characters such as Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker. The alternative to paying is to play the game for 40 hours per character. Fans were not happy about this, and set out to express their anger online.
EA responded to the outrage by posting a comment on Reddit in defense of the company’s decision regarding this specific microtransaction strategy. Reddit did not take this well.
Currently, as of writing this post, this comment is at over 683,000 downvotes, giving it the record for Most Downvoted Comment ever on Reddit.
Microtransactions refer to in-game purchases of additional perks, video game currency, costumes, characters, and other exclusive game content that can only be attained usually through payment. You’re basically using real money to buy fake money. Many have spoken out against this practice of charging extra.
Fortunately, EA and DICE and have lowered the price of the characters (“heroes”) in Battlefront II by 75% in response to the backlash. They announced this in their statement here.
While this will serve as relief to some Battlefront II players, this incident brings attention to the broader conflict surrounding microtransactions in the gaming industry. Microtransactions may bring millions of more dollars to the video game developers and companies, but potentially at the cost of fan loyalty.
Even in instances in which the same in-game items are made unlockable through gameplay, it usually takes more time and difficulty to attain. While people are obviously in their right to not pay for extra content, in games like Battlefront II that involve playing with real people online, those who pay extra will likely be given advantages over those who don’t. Even disregarding advantages in competitive gaming, this microtransaction business model charges people for something that they’ve already purchased. This is why it doesn’t sit well with many.
But what do you guys think? Are microtransactions bad for gaming? Did EA make the right call in lowering the price of heroes? Let us know down below.
If you’re still interested in playing Star Wars: Battlefront II, the game will be released on November 17.