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While Star Wars: Battlefront II is earning the vast majority of headlines pertaining to questionable practices with in-game loot boxes, it is by no means the first game to push the boundaries of what is considered fair or reasonable. Things have apparently gotten so bad in FIFA 18 that players have organized a purchase boycott for the game's microtransactions.
The recent Battlefront II controversy has turned a spotlight on microtransactions and how they are used in video games. But while that game's in-game purchases were actually turned off hours before launch thanks to player outcry, other games boasting similar systems have kept on keeping on. One in particular has apparently pushed players to their limit; FIFA 18.
According to a recent report from Polygon, FIFA 18's loot boxes have gotten so carried away that players have decided not to spend money on loot boxes starting this weekend. The boycott was organized through sites like Twitter, YouTube and Reddit, earning the collective handle of #FixFifa. Prominent players, streamers and the like have gotten so fed up with the game that they're asking the community to stop forking over extra cash in the hopes of earning valuable players. They've even got a #FixFifa petition circulating through change.org that more than 32,000 signatures as of this writing.
In short, FIFA 18 actively does what players feared would happen if microtransactions were left in Battlefront II. In the latter, loot boxes include stat-altering items. Originally, the time needed to unlock those items without spending extra money was astronomical. Fans cried out, IP owner Disney took notice and, in the end, EA removed microtransactions before Battlefront II launched and shortened the period of time it would take to unlock items through regular play.
I've heard folks argue that the original economy in Battlefront II was so atrocious, so utterly broken, that it was possible even EA didn't understand how all of the systems would work together. Anyone who plays FIFA 18, though, would be able to argue that EA knew exactly what they were doing, because they've been doing it in other games for a while now and making lots and lots of money in the process.
In FIFA 18, the complaint is that it takes forever for players to unlock loot crates (player packs) in the game through natural play. This, of course, encourages players to simply buy the packs instead. However, the system is so random that you could spend literally hundreds of dollars and earn only a single top-tier player to add to your team. Those players are basically stat boosts, as their quality will help determine how well your team plays in the game. Additional earnings are based on victories which, of course, are more often earned by players with the better teams.
That sounds super familiar, yeah?
It sounds to me like FIFA players, spurred on by the attention Battlefront is getting, have decided to add their voices to the cry of "foul" against EA. If things keep building momentum, it's possible EA, and other publishers, might have to seriously reconsider how they implement microtransactions and loot boxes moving forward.