Star Wars Battlefront 2: The AMA, Wall Street, and the Belgian gambling commission

In case you ever wanted to sniff the distinct scent of internet dumpster fire, you probably should’ve gone to the Star Wars Battlefront II DICE developer AMA on Reddit yesterday and watched that EA world burn. Almost 30,000 comments later, EA’s handpicked community masseuses didn’t walk back any of the specific business model shenanigans or the “sense of pride and accomplishment” blither, and players are actually madder now than they were when they downvoted EA’s comments 677,000 times on Monday.

Meanwhile,

  • Wall Street is freaking out over the potential stock hit to EA should the game launch poorly thanks to angry gamers.
  • Belgian authorities are reportedly investigating SWBF2 (via GIbiz) to determine whether its design amounts to a money-fueled game of chance, in which case it would be subject to gambling laws and potentially be fined or censored.
  • Players have assessed that it’d take over 4500 hours of play or $2100 to unlock everything in Star Wars: Battlefront 2 as the game’s monetization is currently set.
  • Finally, that “EA dev” who claimed he’d received death threats? It’s no longer clear he’s an EA dev, let alone that he received death threats, and he disappeared from social media after Kotaku went digging. Astroturfer? Hmm.
Source: Reddit. With thanks to Sorenthaz and Miol.
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87 Comments on "Star Wars Battlefront 2: The AMA, Wall Street, and the Belgian gambling commission"

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Brother Maynard
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rafael12104

Here I pulled out the latest messaging from EA for convenience.

The complete messaging now as posted by EA.

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.

We have created a game that is built on your input, and it will continue to evolve and grow. Star Wars Battlefront II is three times the size of the previous game, bringing to life a brand new Star Wars story, space battles, epic new multiplayer experiences across all three Star Wars eras, with more free content to come. We want you to enjoy it, so please keep your thoughts coming. And we will keep you updated on our progress

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xanadox
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Brother Maynard

As far as I know, this move is only temporary and they will add them back later on.

Most probably they want to salvage as much as they can for the release day and when it’s all safe again, EA will be back to their old habits.

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Sorenthaz

EA was just threatened with losing their exclusivity deal unless they revamp/remove the current microtransaction system. from StarWarsBattlefront

The OP of this Reddit thread is apparently an EA Insider as he mentioned this hours before the official announcement was made. Check his comment history for more juicy tidbits.

Simply put, Crystals won’t be able to buy lootboxes again in their current form, not when it can still be classified as gambling.

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rafael12104

My thoughts exactly. Lol. You want to meet somebody that could squash EA? Try Disney.

Disney has been standing there on the sideline watching and dollars to donuts there have been a few, maybe rather unpleasant discussions with EA. Because as I mentioned before, Disney cares about its brand unlike EA.

Turning off ALL in game purchases. No more sales of crystals for cash. Progression removed from lock boxes. I read the post twice to make sure.

This was Disney all the way man. Why do I say that? Because NBA2K and Shadow of War, to name just two other games that pulled the same shit didn’t even blink at the player negative response.

You try the same shenanigans with a Disney IP, and suddenly players interests are a concern EA? LOL.

I’m calling this a win for me personally. I feel better. LOL.

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Sorenthaz

Yuuuuup. EA was threatened with losing their exclusivity deal. They pissed off Daddy Disney.

Proof:

EA was just threatened with losing their exclusivity deal unless they revamp/remove the current microtransaction system. from StarWarsBattlefront

An insider gave the news to Reddit before the announcement was made, and has been giving info and tidbits about what’s initially being thought of for replacements.

“Disney has three major concerns right now.

1. EA is bringing bad press to the Star Wars franchise
2. EA is bringing bad press to the Star Wars franchise RIGHT BEFORE TLJ hits theaters.
3. Disney has taken a hard stance on gambling and the recent press attention regarding this issue has them pissed.

Right now, the focus is to get the current microtransaction system out of the game.”

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Bannex

Disney will not be your knight in shining armor in this case.

EA took a big gamble on an even bigger IP. They dipped below their comfortable sales Outlook this close to holiday season. Wall Street is wearily eyeing the whole drama.

This is not disney this is a corporate reaction to when the board of investors says “Fucking fix this!”

In the long run, this won’t change a thing. The trend of games is to find the most psychologically insidious way to get you to spend money.

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Sorenthaz

Actually Disney is the knight in shining armor. Or at least the robed figure with a staff standing in front of EA and going “YOU SHALL NOT PASS [THESE MICROTRANSACTIONS INTO LAUNCH]!”

Disney is pissed that EA is generating negative press for Star Wars right before The Last Jedi starts showing in theaters. It’s not only damaging the brand, it’s damaging Disney’s image (they have taken a hard stance against gambling) AND potentially hurts ticket sales for The Last Jedi.

EA was just threatened with losing their exclusivity deal unless they revamp/remove the current microtransaction system. from StarWarsBattlefront

Here you go, this was posted an hour or two before EA made their official announcement.

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Kickstarter Donor
Scratches

Okay, now this… this is interesting. I actually don’t know how I feel about this.

I mean, it’s great that they actually “heard” the complaints and “acted” on them, but….

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Sorenthaz

It means that EA is actually afraid of getting poor initial sales and are in 100% last resort damage control mode to try and turn things around at the last minute (as today is the last day to pre-order).

This is also how they’ll manage to kill off all the negative press for the time being.

HOPEFULLY they take this time to work on cosmetics and make those purchasable (via lootboxes is fine, that’s what Overwatch and many other successful multiplayer PvP games do) later down the road. But this could very well just be a delay tactic in order to maximize initial sales to save face for shareholders, Disney, Wall Street, and everyone else watching them intently due to this “EA is promoting gambling in Star Wars” movement. Then once it all blows over they can bring back buying the lootboxes for Star Points or whatever later down the road.

Or here’s a Reddit post that put it well:

“I’m a Producer at a AAA Studio(I’m more than happy to provide proof to subreddit mods)

This is pretty clear what they’re doing to anyone who works in the industry. They want to maximize their initial sales numbers to show to investors. Once the trade off is worth it(Probably 1-2 months in), they will enable the gamble boxes again because:

* Everyone who was on the fence will have bought the game by now
* You can’t refund the game at this point
* The news will have died down, and if new articles do come out, it won’t be as relevant
* They will already have good numbers to show investors

EA is going to royally fuck over the average gamer who doesn’t have a clue how the industry works on this. This is about as deceptive as it gets.”

https://dd.reddit.com/r/StarWarsBattlefront/comments/7dhacr/eastarwars_on_twitter/dpxsirl/

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Sorenthaz

Playing around with the Origin Access free trial (because I bought into that junk back during Mass Effect Andromeda’s early period) I’m already noticing that some things just don’t make sense.

In Arcade mode, which is a singleplayer sort of basic/classic Battlefront mode, they’ve got a bunch of challenges that earn various rewards for completing them, and they actually encourage you to play Arcade by having various milestone/achievement rewards strictly earned from Arcade. Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut you only get a max of like 500 credits, though I might’ve gotten more like 550 since two completions gave me 125 instead of 100 credits. So if you want to make the most of Arcade mode while still ‘progressing’ in it, you can only do roughly five things a day or else you’re losing out on credits. Also in Arcade mode, you have access to every hero. Yet in multiplayer you’ve gotta pay up credits to unlock specific ones… wtf is that logic?

Multiplayer and overall gameplay feels good, the game looks fantastic and there’s some really nice touches to things, like playing certain music when running around as a hero and so on. But it’s pretty easy to tell that they don’t use original voices of characters like the previous Battlefront 2 did, even though they’d have plenty of quotes to pull for use in the unlockable emotes and whatnot… Also you can already see people with Star Cards/Weapons having an advantage over others, lol. But at least with ground units it’s not STUPIDLY noticeable unless you’re playing smaller scale modes. The 40v40 mode is pretty dang awesome, but if you’re on Jakku for example there’s… really no way that ships can really do much beyond take out other ships flying around the area, ’cause the entire battle takes place in that old fallen Star Destroyer and if you try to dive in there you’re almost guaranteed to crash, lol.

Now with Credits themselves, in normal multiplayer matches I’ve so far gotten around 260 both times, one time was a loss in the 16v16 objective mode (I was fairly low on the scoreboards), one was a win in the 40vs40 mode (and I was #4 out of my team’s rankings). Considering the Trooper crate (which is what you’ll likely want to spend your Credits on unless you plan on playing nothing but Hero Battle or the Starfighter mode) costs 4000 Credits it’s definitely gonna take some time. The game does throw a lot of freebies at you early on, but of course those dry up fairly fast. And ultimately if you’re wanting to play certain heroes you’re gonna be stuck saving up Credits and losing out on lootboxes. You also do get a free lootbox per day, but that’s still like a drop in the ocean for how much you’ll need to actually get everything unlocked.

Overall it seems like an enjoyable game but the gambling boxes really do put a damper on it, and that’s a real disappointment since this game would otherwise be very good without such greedy shenanigans. I really hope that a miracle is pulled off and DICE is allowed to redesign the way things are distributed + up the Credits per game by at least 2x their current rate. Getting one box every hour or so should honestly be the rate that they should aim for IMO, and that would mean you could get the other heroes unlocked in maybe 20-30 hours or something (though really they should just remove those stupidly needless costs).

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Melissa McDonald

It’s more ridiculous players than a ridiculous game, to me.

Game is too short, too easy? You suck, i finished it.
Game is too long, too many hours to finish? You suck, I’ll never finish it.
Game perks can only be unlocked by game play? You suck, I don’t have time.
Game perks can be unlocked with real money? You suck, I’m broke.

At this rate, being a Dentist will have a lower depressions/suicide rate than being a game developer.

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Rolan Storm

So. Much. This.

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Alex Hyer

I’m so sick of people trying to use “internet death threats” as a way of giving them pitty.

Its the internet, 12 year olds are telling us they’re going to kill us ALL THE TIME.

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Sorenthaz

But not before they slept with our mothers.

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Sorenthaz

comment imagev

Courtsey of Reddit.

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Scratches

“Ray, when someone asks you if you’re a developer, you say yes…!”

– BiggSean66’s thoughts, probably

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rafael12104

LOL! Haven’t laughed this hard in a while.

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A Dad Supreme

<<<—- Ray Stantz.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

That was great!

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

i had a really good laugh about that kotaku article yesterday about the dude who faked being an ea employee for years. comedy gold.

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Dug From The Earth

Wall Street is freaking out over the potential stock hit to EA should the game launch poorly thanks to angry gamers.

A-fraking-men!

Anyone looking to make money on games, should realize that the most important thing is making a good, quality game. Everything else comes second, it doesnt matter how greedy you are.

Make a good, quality game, and people will throw money in your face.

Stop taking shortcuts
Stop trying to be deceptive and use low blow devious tactics

If your schemes have you fearing a stock hit, then its well deserved and should have you shaking in your boots.

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A Dad Supreme

“Wall Street is freaking out…”
“Players have assessed that it’d take over 4500 hours of play or $2100 to unlock everything in Star Wars: Battlefront 2 as the game’s monetization is currently set.”

From the link:

– “Analyst Justin Post maintained his buy rating and $137 price target for Electronic Arts shares, representing 22 percent upside to Tuesday’s close.”

– “Analyst Michael Olson reaffirmed his overweight rating and $130 price target for Electronic Arts shares.”

What does “overweight rating” mean? “1) Overweight as part of a three-tiered rating system, along with “underweight” and “equal weight”, is used by financial analysts to indicate a particular stock’s attractiveness. If a stock is recommended to be “overweight”, the analyst opines that the stock is better value for money than others.”

“EA’s stock is up 43 percent year to date through Tuesday compared with the S&P 500’s 15 percent gain.”

Does anyone see a “freak out” here… or is it more of a mild concern (if that)?

The livestreams I’ve watched thus far had very little talk (if any) of the actual players complaining that ‘they’ve played 10 hours and have 4,440 hours left to unlock everything’, or that “this game isn’t worth $60.”

If there is anything society has taught us is that a Moment of Outrage is usually just that… a moment of outrage.

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Sorenthaz

From what I understand EA was promising nothing but growth but the growth hasn’t been as good as projected, and Battlefront 2 is supposed to be their big Holiday blockbuster. It spiked up quite a bit in June but since then it’s been dying (very slowly) down again, and hasn’t been growing higher.

Bigwigs and shareholders want the $$$ and with all this controversy around BF2 it’s generating not only bad press but it’s making shareholders nervous that the stock won’t be growing in value over the next few months.

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A Dad Supreme

“From what I understand EA was promising nothing but growth but the growth hasn’t been as good as projected, and Battlefront 2 is supposed to be their big Holiday blockbuster.”

First, read the article. ““EA’s stock is up 43 percent year to date through Tuesday compared with the S&P 500’s 15 percent gain.” How do you NOT see this is nothing but ‘growth, growth, growth’, lol?

I live on the East Coast and every day, there have been multiple TV commercials for this game on almost every channel I turn to and no commercials that “Hey! It takes years to unlock all the Heroes unless you pay!!!” So there are perhaps millions who are seeing that, might buy and then deal with that later, or just go “Meh, I’ll buy one character unlock and play two for now”.

Works like this: Game sells millions of copies and gets good gameplay reviews, more people will buy the game. Months later, they drop the price $10 and more people buy. Rinse/repeat.

Again, I don’t think (nor I suspect you really don’t either) that the majority of people who were likely to buy this game with/without the tie-ins to the upcoming movie aren’t going to because it takes a lot of time to unlock ALL of the Heroes.

Most people I know don’t play ALL of the Heroes/classes in any MMO when a game launches.. they pick one or two and develop them over time, usually a month or so per toon. Now that’s not counting the diehards that play 4 hours a day.

I also don’t know many who play an MMO as a tank/healer/dps all at the same time. They pick one they like, specialize as “main” then later work on the others.

I know there is a lot of EA/Disney hate and the corporate office certainly deserves it, but the devs who put out exceptional combat games do not, and I’m not going to bandwagon-hate a game because of a cash shop that I don’t actually have to buy anything out of.

If the game was getting shit reviews on the gameplay and core, I’d be the first person to say to hell with the whole thing but that’s doesn’t seem to be the case here thus far.

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Dug From The Earth

From an entirely business/stock holder perspective, if the numbers are even 1% less than the predictions, it will be deemed as “Not having met expectations”. Even if the game is super profitable.

The list of companies, IPs, TV shows, games, etc that get canceled after “not meeting expectations” is bigger than Massivelys Op’s forum would let anyone actually post.

Just look at the Mass Effect franchise. Its basically dead in the water now, because bad press, sales, management, etc all affected the games ability to meet predictions.

“Freaked out” is just a colorful way of making the non-business person relate to something that could actually have serious, game changing, results. Is EA gonna crash and burn because of this? Nope

But the Battlefront franchise very well could.

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Sorenthaz

Nah EA wouldn’t kill Battlefront, Star Wars is too big of an IP and as long as they hook some whales it’s mission accomplished since even with this controversy they’ll still get millions of sales. Disney would have to pull the license out from under EA for them to give up on BF.

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Scratches

Disney would have to pull the license out from under EA for them to give up on BF.

And Disney clearly doesn’t have any qualms about doing that either. Just look at today’s news about Marvel Heroes.

Sure, MH wasn’t making 3 commas-worth of money every month/year/whatever, but it was still profitable, I imagine…

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A Dad Supreme

I think that’s the problem with the game right there.. the Whales. It’s always been about the Whales… well them and people wanting what Whales buy.

If people would just buy a game and ignore the cash shop offerings, and I mean ALL of them, companies would adjust.

Company realize people will bitch but ultimately will buy the cash shop stuff, even if it’s just for $5. So what they do is take that $5 content out of the main game and put it in the cash shop. But then moronic people have to have that “corgie” cause it’s cute soooo they buy it because hey… it’s only $5. Yeah, $5 x 30,000 people buying it instead of getting it free.

That kind of thinking is what helped evolve from “cosmetic” to “necessary” content being held from the games today imo.

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Dug From The Earth

Yeah, Disney could kill it. If they arent happy with how EA is making the SW franchise look, they would pull it from them faster than a chicken in KFC

Plenty of SW titles have been canned over the years.

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Sorenthaz

And I don’t think Disney really wants their Star Wars games to be associated with gambling.

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A Dad Supreme

Just look at the Mass Effect franchise. Its basically dead in the water now, because bad press, sales, management, etc all affected the games ability to meet predictions.

I’d argue that the Mass Effect franchise simply just ran out of it’s life expectancy, not simply because of ‘bad press’, etc.
There are many franchises that simply just outlive their usefulness because people get tired of playing them and because something better came along or something a bit different. But this isn’t about that.

Star Wars isn’t ME. It’s Star Wars. We know what that means. No one is really freaked out about it not making money, it’s going to. Again, most of the people here and that follow this stuff hour to hour/ day to day like we do aren’t necessarily the majority of people who want Star Wars stuff or video games in general.

Anything “could” crash and burn. That’s not saying much. People kept saying the same thing about WoW… “too overpriced to last in this market”, “players won’t stand for this monetization of Sparkle ponies”, etc. Doom, doom, doom.

The reason it outlasted all of that doom talk was because at the end of the day, WoW was/is a quality AAA mmo and that’s what matters to it’s players.

If SWBF2 shows that it’s a AAA quality game, then that’s what will gain customers beyond anything sold in a cash shop because ultimately, it really doesn’t make you buy any of the unlocks with real money like many games do.

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Dug From The Earth

ran out of its life expectancy?

Thats a pretty canned response for why something died off.

Not one that someone can really dispute or debate without taking tons of time to research actual data to prove how incorrect it is. Im not that invested or willing… so, your point.

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A Dad Supreme

ran out of its life expectancy?

Thats a pretty canned response for why something died off.

vs

Just look at the Mass Effect franchise. Its basically dead in the water now, because bad press, sales, management, etc all affected the games ability to meet predictions.

… the Vaguest of Vagueries as to why something did, lol?

We both throw darts at the board here. I just tend to think people get tired of IPs in anything over time or a company feels it’s past it’s prime because numbers don’t support it. Happens with anything entertainment based whether plays, movies, music, art/paintings, or televisions shows.

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Dug From The Earth

Yup, lets just disregard the months of media coverage, news, dev and publisher interviews, and company statements about Mass Effects failure followed by its “shelving” and label my comment about those fairly recent events as “vague”

/clap

Again. Im not so invested as to reproduce info and data thats been all over the news in the last year.

-Vague person out.

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A Dad Supreme

Just for the record: People usually get tired of IPs because they diverge from what they were initially. More people were upset at the storylines, bugs (quality), and choices as ME evolved. They thought the story and play got worse, not better.

That’s what killed it. Not “bad press”. People who played it saw it wasn’t up to par as the previous editions.

People thus far who play SWBF2 say it’s far better than SWBF1. The only thing they don’t like is the cash shop thing.

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Dug From The Earth

Just for the record… “people” seems like it would include me (and probably others), and I, personally, dont tire of an IP just because it diverges…

You are making speculations and speaking on behalf of everyone else, 2 things that often can lead to trouble.

Since you seem to know exactly what killed it, EA should hire you to help prevent other titles from suffering the same fate.

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A Dad Supreme

Just for the record… “people” seems like it would include me (and probably others), and I, personally, dont tire of an IP just because it diverges…

I guess it seems that way but unless I said “ALL people”, it’s not, is it?

I also have no interest in working for EA. Besides, Star Wars is Star Wars… not Mass Effect. It’s an IP that runs itself… since circa 1979.

There isn’t really any danger of “suffering the same fate” as M.E. simply because of a shitty cash shop scheme in ONE game, thankfully.

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Dug From The Earth

Oooo…

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A Dad Supreme

It’s all good, DFTE. I think we agree most times on things than disagree.

I just think about this game, people are going overboard as they usually do when there is a problem and willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

To me, it seems perfectly viable to buy SWBF and NOT buy into the cash shop as a protest, rather than to protest the whole game itself because that’s what it will look like financially.

Some folks tend to think just because it’s Disney, Star Wars, EA or a combination of all, that justifies the irrational hatred of wanting a game to fail, which discounts all the work a dev put in to make the game (itself) a quality product.

So many times we have people who complain about the quality (again, quality) of games over the last five years yet when one seemingly has that and is hampered by corporate idiocy, it’s time to shut the game down, instead of telling/advising people just don’t buy the cash shop stuff.

I just don’t understand that logic as a gamer.

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Dug From The Earth

To me, it seems perfectly viable to buy SWBF and NOT buy into the cash shop as a protest,

Thats what im doing actually. I think the game will still be fun even without lockboxes you buy. I also firmly believe that a large number of people not buying it, wont actually change anything due to the nature of lockboxes/whales etc.

EA is kinda like blockbuster video right now (pre-netflix). We are kinda stuck with what they do if we want to legally rent videos to watch. That is, until something else comes along and makes the industry think “Oh, wow, we dont need to put up with that anymore” (sorta like what happened when netflix showed up)

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A Dad Supreme

Thats what im doing actually. I think the game will still be fun even without lockboxes you buy. I also firmly believe that a large number of people not buying it, wont actually change anything due to the nature of lockboxes/whales etc.

Agreed 100%.

Everyone would have to buy the game, but not buy anything in the cash shop in order to send the right message. To the company but also to the devs that we appreciate their fine work.

When people don’t buy a game or sales are low because of one thing or another, the company can’t assume anything about why people don’t like the game, EA itself, the cash shop, the classes, the storylines, peer pressure… anything. Unless they read every forum and every comment ever made, they won’t know the total weakpoints and what to address. Even then they still won’t know.

But if everyone who bought the game decided not to buy anything from the shop but just play the game as-is, EA or any company would immediately know it’s ONLY about the cash shop because they see people buying and playing the game. Not the IP, not I hate EA or anything else.

They’d either lower cash shop prices substantially in order to move things, adjust the caps for Heroes even lower to where they should reasonably be and/or in next game, say “Don’t do that. We lost to much money. People won’t patron the cash shop. Just put more into the game and we’ll push that angle.”

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rafael12104

You know, I’ve been thinking about this, actually, and I bet the first real legal challenge to loot boxes will come from outside the US. I wouldn’t not put it past the EU or Australia to be the first.

Australia is notorious for their consumer protection laws, just ask Valve. And the EU has a lot of power as many countries with strong consumer protection laws work as a block.

And we here in the good old US of A, are otherwise occupied these days. Trump and sexual harassment dominate the day with hardly anything else getting a word in edgewise. Hey, not saying it is wrong, just saying that is the way it is.

So, we will see what happens. I also think that EA and others are quite aware that this could blow up in their face too.

They are trying to show contrition, sort of… LOL. Couldn’t even type that with a straight face.

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Jack Pipsam

It’s worth noting that Australia’s strong Consumer Law comes largely from the fact it’s reasonably unified across all the States & Territories, along with it being backed by an independent, but still federal-government enabled authority being the ACCC. In short, that’s the kind of muscle which did make Valve cave into a refund policy after years of outright refusing refunds.

But Gambling? That’s different, Gambling is pretty much a state issue with little federal oversight. Unlike Consumer Law which has a federal super-powered body, Gambling really doesn’t. There is a federal law about online gambling, but I think that’s specifically about betting sites if I am not mistaken.
So it’s possible that it breaks the law of one state, but not another. For example SWBF2 might be all good here in Victoria, but forbidden in Tasmania. (I don’t actually know if that’s the case or not).

I remember around the time of the whole CS:GO situation one South Australian Senator I believe wanted to bring in some changes to the law about video games, but nothing thankfully came of it (the less federal government stuff about vidya the better).

If you want refund polices? Australia can help ya’ out. But I don’t think we can help much on the gambling front as there really isn’t a unified Gambling law that I am aware of. (I think hypothetically, the age of which you can gamble could be different in each-state if they desired, but I believe that’s unified at 18 by common sense).
Trust me, I am sure if there was a way someone would have kicked up a fuss by now.

PS. I am not a law expert in anyway so take anything I say with a grain of salt.

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rafael12104

Cool. An Aussie weighs in. Thank you. Yeah, you are not a law expert but you are there on the ground so to speak.

Yes, definitely well aware of the situation with Valve. I thought such momentum might bleed over into this type of issue. Thanks for the clarification.

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Rees Racer

Australia’s territories are almost as diverse as American states in the interpretation of some laws (including gambling). It’s almost certain any grounds to ban/censor a game like this will have to originate in an EU country. There’s been no real discussion of Battlefront II’s business practises in AU/NZ. But your point is well-taken.

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rafael12104

And now a Kiwi chimes in. Nice! All we need is a few beers and we can have an international conference on gaming. :)

Thanks for the input.

From my perspective, I just don’t see the US shining a light on this issue for a long time. Countries that are a bit more cognizant of international law and maybe more sensitive to consumers might though.

I hate to say in those terms, but the truth is, right now, things here are not what I would describe as consumer friendly.

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Jack Pipsam

True, wasn’t there a thing in South Australia where they wanted to black-out covers of anything rated R18+? Also I think there’s a few types of porn illegal in SA which is fine in the rest of the country.

Gambling is very much a state issue from what I am aware. So I agree that this would most likely be a European thing. I am unaware of what New Zealand law is.

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Rees Racer

New Zealand has a more unified system than Australia, but it would be extraordinarily difficult to include this game in the Act of 2003, unless it was determined that loot crates constitute gambling, which would then be specified in said act as “gambling by a person at a distance by interaction through a communication device…such as computers…”

But this sort of definition is not uncommon in many civilised western countries, from what I understand.

Also, doubtful Victoria (Melbourne) would ever prohibit this game, as anyplace where this beverage is prefered would be so discriminating. ;)

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Sray

I’ve been fairly certain for quite some time that any governmental regulations on lootboxes will start in China or the EU; and then slowly bleed over into North America due to consumer backlash and the unfeasible nature of trying to maintain separate code for each different region.

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rafael12104

Indeed. China has already started taking steps requiring transparency regarding the odds in loot boxes. We will see how that shakes out.

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Jack Pipsam

Hmm, one could hope this is the straw which breaks the camels back. Although then again if the game still makes dosh hand-over-fist, then in the end they might just let it blow over if these games keep making stupid amounts of money.

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A Dad Supreme

…then in the end they might just let it blow over if these games keep making stupid amounts of money.

I think most rational gamers can see the difference between paying $60 for a game, playing that and never buying anything else from the cash shop. That serves two purposes.

1) The company gets to say it had good sales on the game. People get a good product at a reasonable price, devs keep working and other companies commit to more AAA type products.

2) The company also sees that players aren’t buying the cash shop/lockbox BS and purchasing Heroes, credits or anything else. They either adjust prices fairly or stop locking most things behind paywalls.

The company would understand that people DO like the product, they just don’t like how it’s presented as a sales model and won’t stand for the nonsense. If enough people just did that, then companies like EA would get the message.

The problem is players that keep buying anything from cash shops in games period in any game, whether the company is “fair” or not.

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Bryan Turner

Sorry man guilty as charged, as long as it isn’t RNG though.

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Erik Heinze-Milne

But the inclusion of boxes is what MAKES me dislike the product. You can’t divorce the two from each other. If you buy a game with loot boxes, you are supporting their inclusion, even if you don’t buy any of them yourself.

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A Dad Supreme

Sure you can, well at least I can.

I don’t see the value in an “okay” game with a fair cash shop scheme vs a “great” game with an unfair cash shop.

See.. that’s because I don’t use the cash shops in ANY game so it doesn’t affect me as a player.

That’s how easy it is for me to divorce the two… I simply rate games on the fun/production value factor.

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Utakata

I feel the same way about a certain Presidency…that is, you’d think that would be the last straw, but it keeps on delivering more breath taking inanity with seemingly impunity. It’s almost these entities do this because they know they can get away with it. /bleh

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Utakata

…this show just gets better, doesn’t it? o.O

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Come inside, come inside.

It’s a dynamo.

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Sally Bowls

Re Belgium:
Let me apologize in advance for being too lazy to look up & credit the name for the regular poster who, in another thread, questioned the gambling aspect of this. There is a lot to criticise in this scheme. But is gambling a significant part of this? This is not the gambling of lockboxes in F2P games like GW2 and STO where you buy lots of lottery tickets for the small chance to win big. I have not yet bought this yet, but this seems more like “buy lots of boxes and each will obviate some of your 4,500 hours of grind” than the appeal of gambling. If a government agency were investigating the intersection of RNG and money in video games, I am not sure if SWBF2 would make the top ten list of offenders; so it strikes me more as hype and mob than a concern of gambling per se.

Theryl
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Theryl

It may not be the worst offender, but it might be the one that’s gotten enough media attention to draw the notice of the Belgian authorities.

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rafael12104

While I agree that this may not be as egregious as a lottery, I think it is a game of chance with far worse effects than a f2p game.

I spent sometime with the game, and essentially this loot box scheme can be just as alluring if not more so than winning a big prize. Progression is locked behind these loot boxes and the rewards therein are not static.

So, you buy crystals for real money, this in turn buys loot boxes, which yields character progression, which is a win out on the battlefield. That win is something that many players, especially pvp’ers are looking for. It is the epeen of all epeens. The buzz of adrenaline that keeps them playing. The payoff for their lottery.

And if you can’t afford to buy your way in? You get your butt kicked. The worst of the worst for pvp citizens and something they try to avoid at all costs, literally.

So, I don’t view it any less predatory, and I find it outrageous that after paying full price for a game, to win, you need to pay more. Loot boxes are not only a paywall, they are an rng paywall to boot.

As others have said, it is a F2P scheme attached to a full price game. A win, win for EA.

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Sorenthaz

It’s Pay to Win, simple as that, and those who buy lockboxes with real money get an advantage over those who don’t.

Only mode you can play that earns credits which isn’t PvP is Arcade mode, but that has a daily cap of 500 credits. It’d take like 8 days straight to get a single crate from Arcade mode.

Meanwhile the reason it’s Pay to Win is because you can get Star Cards (up to tier 3) and crafting parts that go toward upgrading Star Cards to tier 4. Everyone else is stuck grinding it out and at the current rate of things it takes around 2.5 hours just to get a single box; $5 gets you 2.5 worth of boxes. Star Cards give pretty serious upgrades to performance, but it’s not as noticeable on Troopers from what I understand. For Heroes where it makes their abilities even more powerful, and starfighters where you get stuff like +30% damage/manueverability? Yeah that’s insane.

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Brother Maynard

It could be seen as the starting shot and other games (including F2P ones) will follow. EA / Star Wars was simply loud (and brazen) enough to leave no other choice…

I personally hope for a nice and thorough avalanche effect. These Augean stables have been ready for their Hercules for many years now.

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Bannex

You think 677k downvotes gives EA a sense of pride and accomplishment?

….on second thought, it actually may.

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Sally Bowls

I recall Activision Blizzard exec pointing out that a CoD (IIRC Infinite something) got the worst downvoting of a pre-release video and went on to be their best selling. So, in general, I think they tend to regard the contretemps of fan sites and flash mobs with the Shakespearean “Out, out, brief candle! Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.”

But I think this may be getting enough traction to matter.

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Armsbend

What an absolutely fantastic Shakespearean quote.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

i prefer my shakespeare in the original klingonese

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

taH pagh taHbe

/nods

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

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bigangry

I think the sense of pride and accomplishment is better when it’s written out as 677,000 downvotes. Maybe even more prideful and accomplishmenty as Six hundred and seventy seven THOUSAND downvotes.

Mmmmm, accomplishmentish!

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

Why is everyone criticising EA? I’ve only ever known EA as an excellent video game company and pioneer of the early home computer games industry. EA has always had my enjoyment as their primary concern and their community involvement is phenomenal.

($5 has been deposited into your Paypal account, remember to delete this part of the message before posting it).

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A Dad Supreme

($5 has been deposited into your Paypal account, remember to delete this part of the message before posting it).

Nice! This reminds me of so many YouTubers and blogger sites who get paid to push games as part of companies launching products.

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Hirku

It’s sad that there was once a time when statements like that about EA and even Activision were honest and freely given.

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rafael12104

They were, indeed. I remember some even claiming that EA saved the gaming industry by buying out struggling studios that could not make it on there own. Seriously, that was said. And others nodded in agreement.

*shakes head*

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Hirku

Activision was great at pride & accomplishment: I sent them a Polaroid of my Pitfall! high-score and they sent me a patch.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

False Deekay, everyone knows EA payouts are in lootcrates. Five dollars is like top rare prize.

You really got a Jams of Finland subscription didn’t you?

Fess up.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

LOL this is just more pasta that’s going around since last night :D

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

I, Mr. Henry Phage, approve of EA’s business practices.

tecknophage.jpg
camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

I’m kinda surprised so many folks know Tecknophage.

You lot are all right!

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Hirku

I’m no longer a part of the organization, but the Dragon in me is still smiling at all this chaos.

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Armsbend

Hope it fails miserably, Disney pulls it’s license, EA stock price tanks and everyone in the company loses their job. From the intern to the hard working artists to the top brass pulling the strings. I hope most of them never work in the industry ever again – all of their hopes and dreams ultimately crushed under the weight of ire – as a lesson to all companies moving forward.

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thirtymil

Slightly too harsh for me, but I’d like to see all the EA senior positions replaced with people who love games first, money second, rather than money first and monetising games second.

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Armsbend

The endless platitudes and well-wishes > while also hoping for it to fail are obviously not harsh enough for this industry. It needs hard and clear cut failure.

Skoryy
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Skoryy

I’m certain that taking the pretendy funtime games way too seriously (again) can only lead to good outcomes.

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Armsbend

My sense of being has actually never been stronger friend. I am more or less divested from games except for a very rare few – but like to comment on my sincere desires for the good of the past time. <3

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