How have things changed. It was only a couple of days ago that gamers the world over were hating EA for making their latest video game, Star Wars Battlefront 2, pay to win.
You see, the game let you buy crystals with real-world cash which could be used to acquire loot boxes in the game. These loot boxes contain “Star Cards” which give specific boosts like greater firepower or shields in the game. And the fact these could be bought with real money was giving some an unfair advantage in the game, hence EA’s decision to pull the plug on the game’s controversial microtransactions (for the time being, at least).
And a recent article in The Wall Street Journal (via Den of Geek) suggests EA might have been prompted to do this by the higher-ups at Mickey Mouse’s company itself, as it seems Disney CEO Bob Iger was quite a bit uncomfortable about all the negative press Star Wars Battlefront 2 was receiving in the run-up to Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s theatre debut next month.
So he asked Jimmy Pitaro, head of consumer products and interactive media at Disney, to contact EA and express his reservations to the game publisher, while Lucasfilm also recently made a statement about the Star Wars Battlefront 2 microtransaction controversy.
“Star Wars has always been about the fans — and whether it’s Battlefront or any other Star Wars experience, they come first. That’s why we support EA’s decision to temporarily remove in-game payments to address fan concerns”, a Lucasfilm spokesman told The Washington Post.
Of course, it’s obvious that the controversy surrounding Star Wars Battlefront 2 and its microtransactions isn’t going away anytime soon, especially taking into account that legislators worldwide are now starting to take action, with a French senator recently asking his country’s regulating authority for online gambling to look into the matter.
Here’s hoping, though, that when microtransactions return to Star Wars Battlefront 2 these will have been designed in such a way that they don’t interfere with player’s enjoyment of the game, and that EA keeps adding new interesting content so that those who pick up this latest Star Wars game this holiday season have a great experience whether they choose to pay for in-game loot boxes or not.