EA, Listen, Gamers Aren’t Thick!

The gift that keeps on giving aren’t they?

 

Update: As Noted by Andrew Reiner on Twitter, there’s some hallmarks of mobile free to start games here too:

https://twitter.com/Andrew_Reiner/status/930209923505557504

Update 2: EA removed in-app purchases temporarily after backlash from Disney, said they would return later, and most recently had the same criticisms levelled at Need for Speed: Payback and a new UFC title. To compound this, after saying “They didn’t want to offer cosmetics because it violates Star Wars canon” for Battlefront 2, they were reminded not only did they do that for the first game in 2015, but Battlefront 2 has cosmetics in the game data!

Plus, violates canon? We have a game, this very game in fact, where Yoda can battle Kylo Ren on a planet that has been blown up.

So brace yourselves, Reddit has a new record for most down-voted post ever. It’s EA’s Official PR guys too, on the Battlefront sub-Reddit. Oh boy!

The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.
As for cost, we selected initial values based upon data from the Open Beta and other adjustments made to milestone rewards before launch. Among other things, we’re looking at average per-player credit earn rates on a daily basis, and we’ll be making constant adjustments to ensure that players have challenges that are compelling, rewarding, and of course attainable via gameplay.
We appreciate the candid feedback, and the passion the community has put forth around the current topics here on Reddit, our forums and across numerous social media outlets.
Our team will continue to make changes and monitor community feedback and update everyone as soon and as often as we can.

Link

EA said that!

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So for those not in the know, Star Wars Battlefront 2 (The second one with that name, yes it’s confusing) has loot boxes and in–app purchases which in a $60 game as we have already discussed is a bit much. Now, people did some number crunching, showing that for a character like Darth Vader, you need to play for 40 hours, or cough up.

Now, EA has revised this down by 75% so the total number of “Points” is far less. This is good. Granted…it’s not for us. It’s for the shareholders.

You know, without a shred of doubt, a shareholder sat and saw that backlash, and felt his vault empty. Sure, it’s 490,000 people (It’s insane and climbing) but to an investor, that’s 490k $60 sales that just said “I might not buy it”. And then add in the lost revenue from in=-app purchases? Yeah.

Now there is no guarantee this will happen, because after all, who can say how many people just hopped on the train. But to a shareholder, there is no greater fear than the potential of lost revenue.

vader-nooooo

What’s more, that potential lost revenue is likely too great for them to sit back and worry. It’s now more valuable for them to cut the amount of micro transactions they’d have to sell, to instead maintain those $60 purchases. Just on the chance they lose sales.

Truthfully speaking, I expect the developers don’t even want this. They just want a game that’s good. But the money talks, and in this instance you can put some Monopoly bucks down on some tight-fisted gents breaking their fine china as their hands tense.

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What bothers me about EA’s statement though, ignoring the background economics of the matter, is that “A sense of accomplishment” isn’t going to be earned from 40 hours of grinding, while people pay up around you and beat you down online.

Frankly, this model, or at least these extremes, are parting the player base like Moses parted the Red Sea: A huge gulf with no bridge unless you build it yourself , or pay the piper. On one side, people who pay, and the other those who don’t.

This ultimately was “Dictated by the Open Beta” but if EA paid attention, the feedback to that was of trepidation and concern around potential pay 2 win shenanigans. With the track record of a company like EA, well deserved, and now, proven.

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What concerns me most is the phrase “Constant adjustments”. I don’t now what that implies…but it would seem like as they say, an effort to keep things attainable with engaging challenges. Now that to me, sounds like discounts of purchases, or rather, how many point you need.

Honestly, discounting the points needed for some time seems like a way to push purchases just a little more. Sell a lesser purchase to more people, making it attractive. This doesn’t sit well with me. That feels legitimately predatory, not to mention the upcoming (Announced before launch) discount to coincide with the upcoming Star Wars Episode 8.

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Ultimately, I have mixed feelings. On one hand, great, EA listened. On the other, I know it is only self-serving in the end, and their statement has the potential to open a whole other bag of worms. Honestly, this entire game is surrounded with negativity and questionable motives.

But at the end of the day, it’s got Star Wars on the box, and when discounted in the hype of a movie, what will the average Joe go and buy? This game.

The tactic is going to work in the end, this is just a move to soften a blow to shareholders and keep gamers on board. The money from the average consumer will be huge regardless, but nothing sells certainty to money-makers than a show of faith, especially when the cash has legs and vows to run away.

 

 

I had a little too much fun writing this one up. If you have some thoughts why not share or comment on social media with your friends, and I’ll see you next time! Happy Gaming!

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