Star Wars Battlefront II lockbox controversy prompted Disney intervention

To put it simply, it has not been the best of weeks for Electronic Arts, DICE, or Star Wars Battlefront II.

The publisher’s decision to push exploitative and pay-to-win lockboxes as part of the multiplayer shooter’s business model sparked a mainstream headlines-grabbing backlash from the community. After several PR stumbles, EA finally made the decision to reduce the cost of the lockboxes and pull microtransactions from the game (for now) prior to Battlefront II’s launch.

But the real decision for this move probably came from even higher up. The Wall Street Journal backs up last week’s rumors that “alarmed” Disney execs, in particular Disney Head of Consumer Products and Interactive Media Jimmy Pitaro, put direct pressure on EA to improve the situation. Considering that Star Wars: The Last Jedi is coming out in theaters next month, we suspect it definitely doesn’t help the franchise to have a high-profile video game racking up massive amounts of bad publicity.

Source: WSJ via Games Industry
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94 Comments on "Star Wars Battlefront II lockbox controversy prompted Disney intervention"

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RJB

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zeko_rena

What is the bet that after the new Star Wars movie has been out for a month or two the game goes back to how it was going to be :)

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Ashfyn Ninegold

You don’t mess around with the Mouse.

Disney has a solid gold reputation in relation to good clean fun for kids. Introducing a gambling mechanism in a game connected to Disney is soiling their brand. EA may not give a chapped patootie about how the market perceives them, but Disney does. They have protected their pure and clean brand for 60 years. Articles like this don’t help:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2017/11/18/how-a-star-wars-video-game-faced-charges-that-it-was-promoting-gambling/

Gambling + Disney? NOOOoooOOOOoooo.

Belgium investigating Star Wars game for gambling? AAAAaaaaaAAAAaaaa.

We saw how fast Disney smote Gazillion and Marvel Heroes when they failed to deal with their harassment problem.

Skoryy
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Skoryy

So DICE was aiming for Overwatch-style cosmetic lootcrates before Disney/Lucasfilm stepped in:

https://pcgamesn.com/star-wars-battlefront-2/battlefront-2-microtransaction-loot-box

Now Disney is shocked, shocked at the gambling going on in this establishment and y’all are eating it up. Do you think the Mouse had zero clue as to how EA was planning to monetize BF2?

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rafael12104

Actually, I don’t doubt that. But two things are obvious as well, Disney not a gaming conglomerate, was fine with whatever EA did as long as it did not sully the SW IP and their brand. But the moment it was even a possibility? The Mouse showed up to protect what is theirs.

As I mentioned before, Disney is not altruistic. They aren’t doing this for us. They are doing it because their money, and it is a lot more than EA has, is based on one simple fact, their brand is legendary with all ages. Put Mickey on a product, put Vader on a product and it sells. Just like that. They will protect that at all costs.

So, EA who when the put their name on a product, it is hardly a selling point needs to come up with ways to monetize. It’s greed, but it is also survival. Remember, before this new CEO, before the push of microtransactions, they were in trouble. Their pitch to Disney was all roses. But they forgot about the Disney brand because they don’t really care about brands at all.

So, now, the best part. Disney again, not in our corner, will be watching EA like a hawk. They now realize the risk. My guess is that loot boxes in SW BFII will be innocuous after this. “Overwatch” loot boxes at best. But most importantly, any future games EA may develop using the SW IP will be scrutinized by Disney early and often. This will not happen again because the Mouse is greedy and protects what is his.

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Zora

That’s precisely what I was thinking, everyone and their uncle know of that certain unnamed company and their practices…but disney? Seriously?

They picked the perfect partner among a rather small pool of companies with a high enough financial profile to fit the bill and they are perfectly happy with it. Had it been ubisoft or time warner hardly anything would be different, the rest is just a PR circus that constitutes entertainment onto itself lol

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George

Thanks for the link, always good to know what’s really happening (well, sort of at least). For a moment I really thought that Disney was the good guy (for their own selfish reason of course, but nonetheless)…

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RJB

I wanted to add marvel and star wars logos to the face along with Ea being on the ground as a gif but i suck at gifs so lol

raw.gif
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Schlag Sweetleaf

First you break it down into individual frames. Then you find and save the overlays you want, place them on each frame where you want them and save each changed frame sequentially.Upload your changed saved sequential frames to an animating program and voila:) There are a lot of programs available to help out there:)

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rafael12104

It’s all right. I got one from google. :)

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Armsbend

look down.

/downvote

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NeoWolf

It is good that Disney stepped in, but EA haven’t really fixed anything. Yes temporarily they have removed microtransations and only time will tell what they do there, but with regard to the lockboxes YEs they reduced the cost, but they also reduced the amount of creds earned that you need to buy them..so the overall change is not really any different.

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Sorenthaz

They didn’t reduce the cost of lootboxes.

SUPPOSEDLY we’re supposed to be seeing an increase in credits gained and a discount on lootboxes coming soon, but who knows. DICE has been completely silent since Friday.

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Dragon Whimsy

That’s actually not true. They reduced the cost of the reward for playing the single player campaign to match the new price of Iden Versio which is the hero you are supposed to buy with those credits. All other credit rewards are the same.

I can understand why you are misinformed because Massively OP reported that story incorrectly.

Let’s not get into such a frenzy that we mislead people. There’s plenty to complain about without making stuff up and weakening the cause. There’s way too many misinformed people just jumping on the anti-EA bandwagon who misunderstand the actual problems.

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Sally Bowls

A different thought: in addition to benefiting Disney/LA/SW and the players, one could argue this benefits EA as well.

IMO, if all a company cares about is the money (long term: If you want to make money in the next month, there is cloneware on Steam and mobile), then the best/only way is to make a great game and sell it fairly. Apple, BMW, Porsche et al show fair can be on the high side of fair. But a company can turn the monetization knob too far where what they lose is more than what they gain.

Sometimes an intervention is beneficial.

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Zora

But a company can turn the monetization knob too far where what they lose is more than what they gain.

Do they, though? Lose more than what they gain, that is

They surely will add a new set of parameters to their evil calculations in response to this fake scandal but business models are not decided by random coin tosses, they have research departments devoted to find out exactly how much they can squeeze from anything they release…and I somehow find it veeery unlikely that Disney made licensing agreements with EA unaware (or unconcerned, being the control freaks they are) of what exactly EA’s MO and ethic were.

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Sorenthaz

And this puts the whole ‘but they need the moneyz cuz production costs are higher’ argument to rest.

This year alone (2017) EA has already made over 1 Billion in profit off of MTXes.

Also costs for lockboxes haven’t changed yet.

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Dug From The Earth

wish i had that video for the MoP article about games needing to cost more.

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Zora

I doubt the clash of arms between the mighty of the earth happened as many dream it did tbh… both companies are into it for the moolah and disney needs EA just as much as EA cares about its licenses.

Polite phone call, mutual understanding a show of goodwill benefit them both and probably an expensive dinner booked for the two CEOs to laugh at how easy it is -still- to pull a bad cop/good cop pantomine for the press and audience

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Ashfyn Ninegold

The more money involved, the hotter the tempers. Regardless of whether naughty words were used in a raised tone of voice, somebody got their ass handed to them, even if was over Chateau Mouton Rothschild.

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MeltWithYou

Yea the thing EA needs to understand – Star Wars is NOT their IP, its Disneys.

I can imagine being the CEO of Disney, if I caught wind of this controversy I’d call the CEO of EA on the phone and cuss him out…it wouldn’t be pretty. Its not their brand they’re hurting, its the Star Wars brand they’re hurting…then I’d tell him to fix it or my lawyers will take Star Wars away from them…

^^Actually I’m sure thats pretty much how the conversation went

Disney gives a fk because Star Wars is a license to print money…everyone knows it…EA does too, EA took advantage of that fact and it blew up in their faces.