Thigs are not dull in the gaming community these days thanks to the storm that has risen around the news that Electronic Arts had planned to implement microtransactions that affect gameplay in Star Wars Battlefront II. The studio did eventually withdraw in-game purchases that can provide unfair gaming advantage, but they emphasized that the move was only temporary.
Although we were all convinced that the EA was forced to make this move after the fierce reaction by the fans, especially to their stupid defensive comment posted on Reddit that became the most disliked post ever, it seems that Disney was behind that decision. The company that owns the Star Wars franchise doesn’t want the right SW name to be dragged through the mud because of the bad choices made by the developers. In fact, the rumors claim that Disney is not far away from leaving the exclusivity deal with EA and offering it to another studio.
The insider reports suggest that the chairman of Disney’s interactive media division Jimmy Pitaro called the executives at the California-based studio to express their concerns about latest developments. Just hours after, EA announced the decision that they are temporarily removing microtransactions, claiming that was their response to the community feedback.
“We Support EA” – Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm, which is also owned by Disney, released a statement on Friday confirming their support to the video game company.
“Fans are and have to be our absolute priority. Whether we are talking about Battlefront II or any other SW product, it has always been about them. That is the reason why we want to offer support to the decision to address concerns of the fans and temporarily suspend in-game purchases.”
Despite these moves in the right direction, it seems that the fans are not ready to accept the apology and move on from the issue. The game was released on November 17 but has had disappointing sales numbers the first couple of days. Furthermore, the user score on Metacritic is an average of 0.9, which evidently doesn’t reflect the quality of the game, but the rage of the fans because of everything that happened.
The question remains when and how Electronic Arts will return microtransactions. They are allegedly considering two ways, and one of them is keeping the purchases restricted to cosmetic changes only. That would probably be the best move if they don’t want to risk a further backlash, but how much will it affect their revenue that has already been compromised?