Earlier this week, EA games experienced a PR disaster prior to the launch of what should have been their holiday season hit, Star Wars: Battlefront II. The video game giant EA started losing popularity at a massive rate after unveiling the business plan online, which many refer to as “pay-to-win”. EA forced to release several statements to no avail and even removed the refund option for players who have pre-ordered the game.
EA broke the record for the most down-voted Reddit comment with a whopping -676K negative reactions by attempting to defend their business practices. EA’s following statements were met with a similar outcome. In the final statement by EA, the developer agreed to halt all microtransactions in the game Star Wars: Battlefront II, for the time being along with reducing the requirements to unlock characters.
Players have noticed however, that although EA has reduced the required amount of points to unlock key Star Wars characters, the number of points players earn via gameplay has also been reduced.
In Star Wars: Battlefront II you have the ability to unlock and play as classic Star Wars characters like Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. You can unlock characters by purchasing or earning loot crates. Loot crates contain randomized perks and characters, which can be better at times or worse at times. This mechanism has been likened to slot machines and has even prompted an investigation by the Belgian gambling authority.
What outraged the players and fanbase was an estimate published online that showed players that a whopping 4,528 hours of gameplay or roughly $2100 is required to unlock all the characters included in the game. EA’s initial response to the outrage that followed was far from well received.
“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.”
This comment was mocked throughout online communities and message boards.
The biggest complaint players have had is the combination of paying $60 for a game with most of its content behind a “pay-wall”. Many claimed that while microtransactions in free-to-play or freemium games are fair-play, having them in a game that costs $60 is distasteful, to say the least.
Fiasco’s similar to that of EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront II can easily be avoided by using Game Protocol as a place to develop and host games.
Should a developer choose to include a feature similar to that of EA’s loot crates, by using blockchain it could be provably fair and transparent. This could easily reveal the statistics of receiving certain items in loot crates and that no foul play or manipulation can take place.
By having developers and players co-inhabit the same space, developers can choose to show their progress and receive feedback from players for every stage of the game’s development. This will guarantee that the fan-base is on-board and hyped about the game’s progress.
Another feature that would help bridge the gap is decentralization. In a decentralized game store user reviews are the most important factor in how games are displayed. In order to receive greater visibility and exposure in the game store and increase sales, games need to receive good user reviews. Developers will strive to please their fanbase and players in order to increase sales.
EA’s consumer outrage could have been easily avoided if there was greater decentralization in the world of video games and better communication lines between developers and players. Game Protocol seeks to do that and much more in order to improve the video game industry.