‘Star Wars: Battlefront II’ is a lesson for the gaming industry about pay-to-win schemes



Dalton Stokes

The newest Star Wars game, “Star Wars: Battlefront II,” experienced something short of a revolt by the players in a monumental backfire.

In mid-November, videogame supergiant EA published its sequel to the hit game “Star Wars: Battlefront.” The game is developed by DICE, the maker of “Battlefield,” and so far the game has not sat right with fans.

One of the biggest laughing points to this story is that most of EA’s big money-making schemes in this sequel completely blew up in its face. A special edition of the game that costs extra money had only one perk– getting the game about three days early.

Now, one thing seems odd here. Most of the time, games come out on Tuesdays.  “Battlefront II” released on a Friday and the exclusive deluxe edition released on the Tuesday before. So, really EA just pushed back the regular release of the game to get people to pay for nothing and make some extra dollars. 

This whole scheme to make money backfired because the people that did get early realized some very unfair and unlikable qualities about the game.

Then, those unsatifisfied gamers with early access broadcasted their displeasure to the world. The people who didn’t get it early then saw these features and cancelled their pre-orders. So this big money-making scheme ended up being a way for gamers to see the game in completion then back out when and if they didn’t like what they saw.

The things that players didn’t like were the pay-to-win aspects of the game that featured very oversold microtransactions. They began playing the game and realized one of the major parts of the game was playing as heroes.

In the game, the player acquires points depending on his or her performance in the game and can use these points to unlock different things to customize the experience. One of these unlockables are heroes, which are main characters in the Star Wars universe.

The players realized that to unlock these heroes one would have to play an egregious amount just to unlock one, but conveniently EA offered an out to all the menial labor of actually unlocking the characters by allowing the player to simply buy the points necessary to unlock said heroes.

This is the perfect money-making scheme. EA makes an obstacle in the game, then make players pay to get over it more easily. This is a practice, among others, that is ruining the gaming industry.

Immediately, EA experienced uproar about these upscaled pay-to-win aspects of the game. A few days later before the official release of the game, EA responded by removing all pay-to-win aspects from the game temporarily to assess what to put in its place. It also lessened the amount of time and effort needed to unlock things in the game by a factor of about 75 percent.

This shows how much power we the consumers have over what we buy and, more specifically, how much power gamers have over content. Gaming companies have been slowly trying to integrate more of these schemes to squeeze more money out of players and each game.

My hopes are that going forward gamers exercise this power even more and send a clear message to major companies that gamers aren’t going to take whatever they give out. Hopefully game companies take this as a wakeup call to make better content and not slack off on their games and expect gamers not to notice.

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