Star Wars Battlefront 2 (opens in new tab)is ditching one of its most controversial features: microtransactions. Being able to buy in-game crystals to purchase loot boxes with real-world currency has, for the time being, been pulled from the game following an online backlash – including the world’s ‘worst’ Reddit post (opens in new tab).
In a statement, DICE General Manager Oskar Gabrielson revealed the reasoning (opens in new tab) behind the decision to temporarily suspend microtransactions prior to the game’s worldwide release:
“Thank you to everyone in our community for being the passionate fans that you are.
Our goal has always been to create the best possible game for all of you – devoted Star Wars fans and game players alike. We’ve also had an ongoing commitment to constantly listen, tune and evolve the experience as it grows. You’ve seen this with both the major adjustments, and polish, we have made over the past several weeks.
But as we approach the worldwide launch, it's clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design. We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn’t get this right.
We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases. We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing and tuning. This means that the option to purchase crystals in the game is now offline, and all progression will be earned through gameplay. The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we’ve made changes to the game. We’ll share more details as we work through this.”
While the move to announce it now and reinstate it later may seem like a cynical move to some, it’s apparent that EA have decided against being a brick wall when it comes to taking on fan feedback. In the long run, that can only be applauded. Publisher and consumer dialogue is an important relationship as any in today’s climate.
For what it’s worth, our review praised multiplayer as “the strongest part of the package” but had reservations about the “grubby veneer of gambling.” That concern isn’t fully addressed by this new move, but DICE and EA’s decision to suspend microtransactions until the progression system is properly tested by the players feels like a positive move.