Microtransactions have always been a controversial part of modern gaming, but the aggressive type found within Star Wars Battlefront II was the straw that finally broke the camel's back. A large amount of potential buyers refused to get the game outright after seeing the microtransaction systems, and almost everyone unanimously pressured EA (Electronic Arts) to remove them entirely.
EA removed the ability to buy loot boxes with money right before the launch of Battlefront II, but damage was already done to the title's reputation. As a result, the game missed expected sales estimates by a large margin. Governments took notice of the controversy, and began to take a look at whether microtransactions should be considered gambling and regulated as such. All of this hurt EA and Battlefront II, and it only made matters worse when EA said the removal of the loot box buying was only temporary.
There was hope when EA said that the microtransactions may not return, and it seemed like they might have learned their lesson. Alas, though, EA recently announced that these systems would be integrated into Battlefront II once more, and it's starting to feel like the people behind this game don't care about the players at all.
The fact that EA is putting these systems back into their game is astonishing. I can't think of one good reason why they would do so. If they did it in order to squeeze more money out of the current fanbase, then EA ironically has misunderstood why their game did so poorly in the first place. Of course, it's possible that they clearly understand why we don't like their microtransactions, and simply have waited for the controversy to die down to try and get away with it.
To me, these are the only two sensible reasons why they're returning to Battlefront II, and the sad reality is that both of them show that there's a large disconnect between EA and what gamers want from their games. Instead of committing time and resources into creating things that the Battlefront II faithful have been asking for since launch, such as the ability to choose the era you want to play in, they instead prioritize this.
Could this end up being okay?
While any type of microtransaction is bad for a full-price title like Battlefront II, they might not end up being too bad if they are limited to cosmetic items only and are no longer tied to the gameplay progression.
A while back, Reddit users data-mined the files of the PC version of Battlefront II and discovered dozens of different skins for all the classes for each faction. These customization items never made it into the full game, but the fact that they exist and look largely polished makes me think that EA will choose to add them into Battlefront II in the form of microtransactions.
Because skins wouldn't affect the gameplay, they would have no impact on the core progression system within the game unlike the first iteration of the system. Though I personally believe EA should just give us all of the skins as a gift due to how poorly the development team has listened to the community post-launch, if we have to have microtransactions, I want these to be the kind. Unfortunately, we don't know yet for sure what kind they'll be. Only time will tell.
What's your opinion on the return of microtransactions in Star Wars Battlefront II? Let me know in the comments.
Star Wars Battlefront II is available for $59.99.
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