After a vocal and negative response from players, which included the most downvoted comment in Reddit's history, game publisher Electronic Arts and developer DICE announced that they're removing microtransactions from Star War Battlefront II. Oskar Gabrielson, general manager at the game's developer DICE, said that microtransactions will return to Battlefront II, but only after DICE has made changes to the game.
Specifically, the company is removing the ability to purchase Crystals, the in-game currency players could buy with real money to unlock new weapons, characters, and abilities. Importantly, players couldn't directly buy the items they wanted. Instead, players used Crystals to get loot boxes, which contain a random assortment of items.
Players could always unlock these items by simply playing the game, but the rate at which they could unlock them without paying real money was deemed too slow by the player community and many reviewers (including us at Motherboard).
"We hear loud and clear, so we're turning off all in-game purchases," Oskar Gabrielson, general manager at the game's developer DICE said in an announcement. "We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing and tuning. This means 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."
The change comes the night before the game's wide release on Friday, November 17, and a week-long public relations nightmare for one of the biggest games from one of the biggest game publishers in the world. Before its wide release, EA allowed members of its EA Access program to play the game early, where they got a first good look at Battlefront II's progression system.
The reaction to it was so negative that EA quickly announced it would reduce the time it takes to unlock playable heroes like Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker by 75 percent. That didn't appease players, who raged on in the Battlefront subreddit and on Twitter. As the games site Gamasutra reported, the random, slot machine-like nature of the loot boxes even prompted Belgian Gaming Commission to investigate whether it qualifies as gambling.