Subscribe To Did Disney Make The Call On Pulling Star Wars Battlefront II Microtransactions? Updates
If you've been following the constant Battlefront II news, then you likely knew that EA decided to temporarily pull microtransactions from the game right before the official launch. Based on the latest buzz, though, it sounds like Disney may have had a helping hand in making that happen.
Based on a report from Venturebeat, the whole thing may have boiled down to a single phone call between EA's Andrew Wilson and Disney's chairman of consumer products and interactive media, Jimmy Pitaro. Microtransactions were apparently removed from the game mere hours after that chat, alongside a statement from EA/DICE that didn't make mention of anything outside of their desire to listen to fans and readjust the game.
We were made aware of the update the evening before our review of Battlefront II went live, so we were thankfully able to incorporate that information into the assessment. The game's economy and progression system still need to be ironed out, but at least this is a start toward making an otherwise great game better. In case this is all news to you, one of the major rubs with players was the fact that loot boxes include items that literally affect a player's stats. Since loot boxes could be purchased with real-world money, that made the game quite literally pay to win. Sure, there's no telling how much those stat boosts actually affected gameplay, but that's precisely the kind of content you don't really want to include in a $60 game where folks have the ability to drop more money to purchase more upgrades.
The statement provided on the Battlefront II blog stated that those systems were a work in progress and that the extremely negative reaction from fans meant they would be disabling microtransactions until they were able to figure out a better system. Not including the fact that Daddy Disney apparently put the foot down isn't all that misleading. It was the negative press, spurred on by fan outrage, that caused Disney to take notice in the first place. Also, with or without a call from Disney, EA likely would have made the same move to prevent the game from being a total bomb.
And if you're thinking, "Didn't Disney know about this all along," the answer is probably "no." I doubt any check-in sessions with the game included much info on how unlocks and microtransactions work. And even if they did, I'm guessing the Disney folks would be ignorant when it comes to what is and is not considered kosher by fans. "These microtransactions will be small fees people can pay to speed up progression," sounds fine on the surface level. Then again, I'm only speculating here. Either way, folks seem happy Disney apparently stepped in when they did.