EA has come under a lot of fire recently for including intrusive pay-to-win mechanics in its upcoming game, Star Wars: Battlefront II. The company's antics earned it the most-hated comment in Reddit's history, backlash from enraged gamers on other social media platforms, and even an investigation from Belgian authorities regarding loot crates constituting a form of gambling.
Now, it appears that EA has caved in to the pressure, at least temporarily, mere hours before the launch of its AAA game.
In a blog post, EA has announced that it is temporarily removing all in-app purchases in the game, including Crystals and loot crates. The company explains that:
[...] as we approach the worldwide launch, it's clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design. We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn't get this right.
We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases. 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.
It is interesting to note that the firm has explicitly clarified that microtransactions will be returning at a later date, likely when it figures out how to include them without angering gamers.
Completely removing a game mechanic a few hours before the game's launch is certainly a daring, but necessary move. Recently, in a Reddit AMA, the Design Director for Battlefront II had stated that microtransactions are there for "player choice" and that the company will be tweaking the mechanic to appease its fans. As of now, it remains to be seen when the dreaded in-app purchases will return and whether they'll manage to nullify the pay-to-win nature of the game.
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