In November 2017, EA Games released its action shooter video game entitled Star Wars Battlefront II. Based on the Star Wars Film franchise and the seventh instalment in the Battlefront series, the game was supposed to be a blockbuster success, but instead it has been mired in controversy. The furore caused by the game should not be a surprise for players nor the game’s developer as the subject of contention had been already under intense discussion during an open beta for the game prior to its full release.
EA Games Backtracks on Loot Boxes Following Gamer Backlash
In the case of Star Wars Battlefront II the controversy comes courtesy of Loot Boxes, or in-game transactions, that have fans of the franchise up in arms. Loot boxes as they are referred to, are a way for players to purchase power-ups, character costumes, and even in-game progress rather than earning them through playing the game. One of the reasons why this model is so contentious is because of the initial cost that gamers have to shell out for of AAA games such as Star Wars Battlefront. EA eventually got round to removing the offending micro transactions but by then the damage had already been done.
As noted above, gamers began voicing their concern while the game was in beta testing, yet EA chose to ignore that feedback and persisted with loot boxes when Battlefront ii was released and beyond. Consequently the controversy around Star Wars Battlefront II isn’t going away and continues to rage even now.
The issue of micro transactions and loot boxes has become so contentious that politicians have taken up the fight on behalf of gamers and are trying to create legislation governing in-game purchases. As a result, even though EA finally removed loot boxes the controversy around the practise refuses to die down. Ultimately, this may be because this is an issue that is much bigger than Star Wars Battlefront II itself. The game was one of the biggest releases of last year and thus has attracted a lot of attention around the subject.
The future of Video Games and Micro Transactions
However, micro transactions in Battlefront II are part of a wider practise being employed by video game developers and publishers and that is why the controversy won’t go away any time soon. As an example, the system of charging money through in-game purchases works for free mobile games and apps that have no other way of earning revenue. Because the initial content is free to access, players on mobile begrudgingly pay for these micro transactions in order to progress if they wish. But the concept is entirely different for console games which players have bought and paid for and therefore own outright.
At the end of the day the controversy surrounding the loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront II continues to rage because many game developers are going down the same rout in order to make more money. Understandably, gamers are infuriated by what they see as profiteering and therefore as long as loot boxes are around you can expect the controversy to rage on.