Did Disney Have Star Wars Battlefront II Crystal Purchases Disabled

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If you’re the Star Wars franchise, you’ve had a really bad week, and it’s only seemingly been getting worse even with the removal of your latest games loot crates. For Electronic Arts, your week really hasn’t been the greatest of weeks, and it may only get worse in the upcoming days. Your latest game is one that has pushed upon the industries most discussed topic: confusing, expensive, and troublesome loot crates.

Specifically, in this case, loot crates that actually influence your game, and help other players get an edge on those whom they are competing with. Except things seemed to change rather quickly in the games eleventh hour: microtransactions being disabled. The company had informed its player base that they have now deactivated the option for players to purchase these crates, they have paused the ability for players to unlock content an accelerated rate, and that all players would be put on even grounds.

But the question still beckons: was it EA that actually pulled the plug on microtransactions or was it the big brother Disney? If you take into consideration who owns the rights to Star Wars, your money should be on Disney this time around, and it should be due to the fact they wouldn’t want their franchise marred by the current topic at hand.

Considering the next Star Wars movie, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is coming up in just under a month, it’s hard to have something such as this controversy looming in the air. First off, we know this new trilogy is a big deal; these films are major profit gains for both Disney and partners. These movies, the latest being produced by Rian Johnson, is a big deal, and is aiming to push the franchise into a darker path than any before. So much so that the latest trailer advises that this movie may not be ideal to all audiences.

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Disney Has Done This Before and will do so Again

With Johnson now heading the films, it only casts a brighter light upon why Disney is concerned, and why their eyes are set upon the controversy surrounding Star Wars Battlefront II. After all, the Belgian Gaming Comission is already investigating the possibility of reclassifying Loot Boxes for Overwatch and Star Wars Battlefront II. For Johnson, Disney, and those involved; this is not good news.

It’s also news you don’t want to be tied to when working on a new series, which is already setting up a few spinoff films, and a newly announced trilogy. For both Johnson and Ron Howard, this is not what you want to walk into, and it’s a mess you don’t want to have to pick up the pieces from. Afterall, Lucasfilms – now owned by Disney – has done this before.

They did it with Phil Lord and Chris Miller, two of the top directors in Hollywood, ones that Disney axed due to major creative differences about the upcoming Han Solo: A Star Wars Story film. Even after they were ousted, they were quickly replaced by Ron Howard, a lesser liability for the company.

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A Look at why These Loot Crates/Boxes are so Disliked

If you recall, Rock Paper Shotgun went into dept, explaining the benefits of playing the game, but without spending real-life money in comparison to the alternative, and even brought up the proof that players using the in-game fake money would have spent hundreds of hours on the same things.

But loot crates, loot boxes, or whatever you prefer to call them, aren’t all that uncommon anymore. In the last few years, we’ve seen them come to life in full-price triple A games. While they were previously almost only exclusive free-to-play titles, allowing players to unlock exclusive, and or limited time items including skins, or customizations.

But with the ever-rising costs of post-release support for online games such as Overwatch or Call of Duty, publishers have claimed that the costs of their games development cycles and post-release digital content have begun to rival Hollywood films such as TransformersStar Wars, and The Avengers films.

But what’s more confusing about this situation is the fact that companies are now locking game-influencing items. Influences that do give players a pay-to-win advantage within their games, and even causes a disadvantage to players who opt to not use these pay-to-win mechanics. But with Star Wars Battlefront II being the biggest of releases, players kept their eyes glued to online forums, news sites, and one of the biggest forums out there: Reddit.

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The Reddit AMA Only Highlighted Player Concerns

While all the red flags were raised, publisher EA had a lot to look into, and it had to do so through a Reddit post, one which became the most downvoted post on Reddit. A first for the Reddit. To back up their attempt to calm the fans, EA even shut down in-game purchases, but only temporary, in the 11th hour before the games launch, stating that they did so in order to bring the games in-game purchased currency – Crystals – back at a later date.

EA and Oscar Gabrielson and a EA Spokeswoman responded to both The Washington Post about their inquiries regarding the games microtransactions system in the following comments.

“The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we’ve made changes to the game.” – Oscar Gabrielson

“With regard to yesterday’s announcement on pulling the in-game purchases for launch, we do not have anything further to share at the moment beyond Oskar’s post. A player’s ability to succeed in the game is not dependent on purchasing crates. Players can also earn crates through playing the game and not spending any money at all. Once obtained, players are always guaranteed to receive content that can be used in game.” – EA Spokeswoman

But the truth is that it wasn’t EA that pulled the trigger on the loot box and crystals system having paid options disabled; instead, The Wall Street Journal confirmed that Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman of Disney’s consumer products, and interactive media division, is the one that called EA in order to pull the in-game purchases.

The most important part about Jimmy Pitaro’s call isn’t just that Disney wanted to yank the microtransactions for now, they also wanted to express the unhappiness of Disney’s executives due to the outrage that fans had towards one of Disney’s “marquee properties”. This was only backed up by a  Lucasfilm/Disney spokesman that got a hold of The Washington Post in order to confirm this information:

“Star Wars has always been about the fans — and whether it’s ‘Battlefront’ or any other Star Wars experience, they come first. That’s why we support EA’s decision to temporarily remove in-game payments to address fan concerns.”

But fans will remain pessimistic about this situation. Not because the loot boxes/crates are disabled – for now. Rather they remain this way because the trend hasn’t changed when it comes to publishers such as EA or Activision. They know there is a lot of money to be had in the loot boxes themselves. They are worth a lot of monetary gain over the lifespan of a game.

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Star Wars Battlefront II will Have Future Paid Options

Whether gamers want it or not, EA has confirmed that microtransactions will return, and they aren’t being coy about it. They have openly admitted that the future paid options will be returning to the game whether fans want it or not.

“Star Wars has always been about the fans — and whether it’s ‘Battlefront’ or any other Star Wars experience, they come first. That’s why we support EA’s decision to temporarily remove in-game payments to address fan concerns.”

Unfortunately, this does mean that EA may have to sit down at a drawing board with Disney’s Jimmy Pitaro before re-implementing them. Since they will return, we can only guess what they will involved, and if we will be able to see them be cosmetic only. Lets just hope it is and that EA/DICE have found another way to make the game work as intended, just as its predecessor had, and the predecessors before it.

 

 

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