EA Temporarily Removes Microtransactions From Star Wars Battlefront II

EA is temporarily pulling the microtransactions from Star Wars Battlefront II, a shocking move that comes after days of zealous fan anger and just hours before the official launch of the game.

"We hear you loud and clear, so we're turning off all in-game purchases," wrote Oskar Gabrielson, GM of Battlefront II developer DICE, in a blog post.

"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."

Previously, you could spend real money on crates and crystals that let you improve your gear and get better at the game, a system that veered dangerously close to "pay-to-win" waters.

Controversy over Battlefront II has been swirling for weeks now, but peaked over the weekend after Early Access players discovered that the game's heroes could take dozens of hours to unlock, a process you could expedite by spending money to buy loot crates and earn credits.

Earlier this week, EA cut the costs of all heroes, but the damage had been done, and was exacerbated by widespread confusion over whether EA had also cut the number of credits you'd receive from playing the game.

This week, it seemed like the only thing video game fans wanted to talk about was Star Wars Battlefront II's various methods of making you pay extra money.

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EA Defence Of Star Wars Battlefront 2 Becomes Most Downvoted Reddit Comment Ever

We're four days away from the first Star Wars video game story since Star Wars Kinect, but few people are talking about what Star Wars Battlefront 2's campaign might look like. Instead, the internet discourse has been all about microtransactions, and players feel so ripped off that they have granted publisher EA the award for most downvoted Reddit comment of all time.

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The rage led to the most downvoted Reddit comment of all time and even hit mainstream press, with a CNN article today proclaiming that "The new Star Wars video game is under attack."

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Comments

    The wheels have definitely come off of this speeder.

    i think i know why. Belgium is currently investigating both Overwatch and Battlefront's lootboxes to see if they are considered gambling, and by doing this EA knows they are likely screwed due to some of the items in the boxes giving power

      it's not loot boxs having power that the Belgium gov will have a problem with it's that you buy a chance to get somthing. But in a way which is more exploitative than say a raffle.

      Someone on posted a facebook meme for people to spread, basically saying "Disney have this new Star Wars game where you can gamble, don't buy this for your kids".

      EA is already hated and does not care. Disney is anal about their PR and can exert pressure on license holders.

        I saw a cute graphic doing the rounds which was a slot machine with star wars icons amongst the BAR and cherries. Very 'facebook warning' postish.

      That's probably more a coincidence, than the reason. EA has a team of well funded lawyers that will have many plans for the inevitable gambling investigations over the coming years, pulling them down and pretending they never existed there is no legal defence. This would be more to do with the fact the entire marketing campaign had been derailed by every article about the game being about micro transactions, the sales trackers were obviously showing a large negative effect. Which is a massive win for gamers.

        True they have lawyers, but unless the investigation makes an actual inquiry to the developers to respond... they could make a ruling without EA or Activisions input. Their investigation is where do loot boxes fit into existing gambling, competition and lottery laws of course they could challenge any ruling but it wont sit well... cause rhey cant even defend their actions to players or reddit.

        Remeber Valve lost their case in Australia over refund policies and terms of service under consumer law and they got lawyers too. Govts dont like being told their wrong.

      it's been picked up by the non gaming media and apparently Disney are not impressed with the bad PR and made a call to EA

      Word on the wire is that Disney threatened to pull exclusivity.

        Disney should never have given EA the license in the first place. if anything Disney should of just kept Lucas Arts going

    A quick Google of EA's stock prices yields some unsurprising but amusing results.

    Temporarily. Nope. Still not falling for that.

      It’s better than what we had yesterday. There is no season pass for this game, so therefore there is no way lootboxes won’t be back in some form.

      As things go this a victory, it will be short lived but when it comes to EA it is worthy of a brief celebration, a momentary excuse to smile

    Until EA completely removes loot boxes and micro transactions from their games, I won’t pick them up.

    The game isn't under attack, CNN, the dodgy business models and practices are....

    Trying to trick people into acting as door guards isn't working this time and the fear among the money makers is obvious.
    This isn't bad for EA, this is bad for the entire micro transaction model, and they know it!

      I wish. Don't count out the corporates too early. They're used to getting their way.

      Keen to hear how the Belgium thing goes, though.

        Thing is a lot of countries and state authorities have been looking into this... the more public the issue the more pressure from politicians to release thier investigations.

        Just look at the Steam Refund policy changes from a few years ago.

        Oh I know, this is little more than throwing a sheet over the issue, a quick mitigation in light of other methods failing, including media weight to try and skew the core issue back on consumers and other lesser players like their own underpaid and overworked developers.

        They are rattled though, my guess sales projections and coverage analysis were showing a negative run for the Christmas quarter.
        Damage control wasn't working and they couldn't shake focus on gambling and dodgy practices so they need to do something drastic like strip out the core revenue model (Of which the entire game is built around) to try and keep sales up.

        You're right though, it's a savage but ultimately empty gesture.
        They are just trying to get everyone on board and rob us a little slower.

        Mate I'm just glad that we can still put pressure on the bigger players and I'm thrilled that Kotaku has kept a level head overall.
        They were cautious in the beginning, but they have rolled well with the punches and haven't fallen for the cheap feints.

          I personally like to think that Disney called EA and said, "What's this I hear about your latest game triggering a bunch of countries governments to think about regulating games as gambling? Do you have any idea how big a pain in our ass that is? If you have fucked us on this..."

            I wouldn't be surprised, I would love to get me a look at their contract with Disney.

            I'm keen on the Belgium decision too, regardless of the result they are investigating and discussing the public concern, the response from the ESRB was a blatant statement straight from their lobbyists.

            Disney ruined Star Wars and EA ruined games

    Wow.

    I did not see this coming.

    They have REALLY screwed the pooch on this. People will be talking about this for years. I would love to be a fly on the wall at EA right now. The atmosphere must be intense!

    It would be interesting to know if there have been mass cancellations of pre-orders over the past week or two. That could certainly be a factor here if it happened - they do love their pre-orders.

      The regedit post had links to easily cancel your pre-order. As a result, they changed it so you had to talk to a EA consultant to cancel your order

      Well, pre-order/refund cancellations got so bad that they actually removed the refund button for all pre-orders on the US Origin store. They made it so you had to use customer support chat to request refunds/pre-order cancellations.

      So yeah. It must've gotten horrifying enough that they tried to stop the bleeding by making it fucking inconvenient to get a refund, and then eventually going to the extreme of capitulating by disabling microtransactions.

      Amusingly, that 1-2hr+ wait time for customer support to cancel inspired some software devs to come up with an app that processes refunds for you, without having to contact customer support.

        Actually they didn't remove it because of this. It's a weird but old EA practice to remove the refund button in the week preceding a game going live if you have pre-ordered it.

      Also, remember when Microsoft back-flipped on their anti-trade-in/swap/share digital-registration horse shit for the xbone? A response to massive pre-order cancellations.

        And let's not forget EA already ran both the "I'm sorry" and "For the gamers" style programs in the past, after they kept winning the worst company awards.

        They rely on us forgetting.

    I was so keen for this game a month ago. After being dissapointed again, and again, im going to give it a miss. Went to buy it on tues, and found out its only the deluxe edition thats been released, featuring kylo ren and a gun skin for $115. Twice the price of the standard edition. So origin players got it four days before the deluxe edition, and the deluxe gets it three days before the standard edition. Which makes the game already a week old, it useless for the standard people trying to catch up. Plus all the other negitive feedback from the game, im done.

    When in-game purchases are reinstated, I would prefer it to be for skins, emotes and general cosmetic stuff.

      Problem is they really don’t have that many skins. Most hero’s just have an alternative

        Most of the villains only have one look. Luke, Han and Leia changed outfits a few times across the movies so there'd be some options there. Chewie knocks about 'tackle out' as it were so no joy there. Not much revenue to be had here unless they went outside the movies. Darth Vader is a fetching shade of yellow, anyone?

          Surely there could be a few though - you could have Vader in a scuffed up outfit similar to what he had at the end of The Force Unleashed. Maul could have his robotic appearance. Han, Luke and Leia could have their Older aged appearances.

            Why not allow hilarious outfits? Pink darth vader, rainbow light sabers, darth vader with dread locks, darth vader with brown shorts and pasty white skin, overly overweight dark vader.

            Games are taken too serious these days,

              Agreed - however I'd assume that disney is keeping a tight leash on those assortment of outfits.

      I agree. I have no problem with loot-boxes containing cosmetic items. Skins, avatars, lightsabre colours - bring it on. if you want to pay for a chance to play as Slave Girl Leia, or Smuggler Leia instead of Vanilla Leia then more power to you, cos it doesn't affect the game.

      Put the cards and characters in the game progression, and/or link them to cheevs and put the pretties in the micro-transactions and I'm back on board.

    Man the people that bought up all the abilities in the 3 day pre order must be loving it! Huge advantage over everyone and no one can purchase to catch up! But they can't refund them can they that would pee people off even more...

    Another thing that making this much larger than normal is also amount of issues with loot boxes this year (Shadow of War being the big one and bigger than than EA's) and so the tide is looking like its finally turned and micro transactions in general.

    It also doesnt help that the CEO of Take2 announced last year that all future games from Take2 will include microtransactions because of the success of GTA Online. So yeah, consumers have finally had enough

    The keyword is temporarily.

    Not getting a cent from me till they're gone, even then I don't want to give them anything as I'm worried that even if they removed them, it could be seen as me being "cool" with the microtransactions.

    Apparently when EA got the license for that tiny, niche IP Star wars I think it's called, they were worried it might not make you know.. all the money on earth without microtransactions and loot boxes

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