EA has announced that they are removing the ability to purchase in-game money from their new bestseller title Star Wars Battlefront 2 after hundreds of thousands of gamers sounded off their discontent for the ever increasing cost of playing and progressing in EA’s game.
Pay to win has been a strategy used by some of the largest AAA game developers over the past several years. The model is simple: either the gamer grinds out endlessly for your gear and unlocks, or your hand over your hard earned money for the upgrades and unlocks. Now, I don’t think that all pay to win is bad. I for one, am a busy person. Sometimes, I don’t have time to grind out a game for 200 hours just to unlock that shiny sniper rifle, and to be honest, I would gladly surrender $5 to have that weapon. But would I pay $5 for every piece of gear, weapon, perk, and character? Well, not when games have more options and customizations than ever before. You can easily spend hundreds, and even thousands of dollars on progression unlocks for a single game.
For the past several years, Electronic Arts have gone all in with the pay to win model. Whether it’s player packs on FIFA or loot crates on their Battlefield titles, it’s obvious that EA wants to adopt this model across all of their games.
Days before the official release of the highly anticipated Star Wars Battlefront 2, over 500,000 Reddit users down-voted an EA staff members comments defending the pay to play economy. This comment became the most down-voted comment in Reddit history. It didn’t stop there. After pressure from the gaming community, EA announced that not only would they reduce the price of in-game characters, but they would be removing the ability to purchase “crystals” with cash entirely.
So back to the original question: Is this move by EA indicative of the beginning of the end of pay to win games? Chances are: No. While this unprecedented move by EA is a step in the right direction, it just begins to scratch the surface on an issue that runs much deeper. In a world where the mobile app market is dominated by “freemium” games, I doubt EA and other developers will be changing their methods anytime soon because so far, it has been working and people will pay hundreds of dollars to have the best FIFA Ultimate Team.