The Daily Grind: Did EA do gamers a big favor with its monetization overreach?

Over the last couple of weeks as players fought EA and Disney turned on its own in the Star Wars Battlefront II mess, I’ve seen many gamers (and even a few relieved developers) suggest that EA has unwittingly done us all a solid. Not only has the most-hated video game company in the west rocketed the lockbox gambling debate into the mainstream and into the political spotlight, but it’s made it that much harder for other studios to get away with similar monetization antics. Scrutiny is high right now, and we’ve actually seen several online gaming studios large and small denounce the mechanics that got EA in trouble. And all because EA delved too greedily and too deep: If it hadn’t pushed so hard, the whole industry might have skirted by for years more with MMO players’ complaints subsumed beneath the thrum of business as usual.

Did EA do gamers a big favor with its monetization overreach? Or do you really believe that scrutiny and oversight will somehow end worse for gamers than it is right now?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Robert Mann

Mixed. It will run a bunch of nonsense that mitigates a little of the lockbox stuff, but they will continue to find work arounds. At the same time, government will look at video games, and the relatively low regulation, and start doing what government does best… gumming up the works.

I fully expect to see new game prices rise in the aftermath. I expect to see favoritism toward certain big studios, much like other entertainment related industries in our nation. At the same time, I don’t expect to see the industry simply die. But there will be pain for the industry and consumers both if government gets more involved. There always is.

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Peregrine Falcon

EA, like the Dwarves of Moria before them, delved too greedily and too deep. You know what they awoke in the darkness of government gambling commissions.

Their greed pushed things so far that, not only have they cost themselves $billions, they wreaked it for the entire gaming industry.

Thanks EA! :)

K38FishTacos
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K38FishTacos

Greed is a constant. I will just slither around until it finds a new way to strike.

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Zora

Oh gosh oh gosh… I’m late to the party. Ahem… /adjusts dress

I don’t know if they made us a favour other than providing outlets for discussion (which I appreciate as a distraction while I wait for bloody swtor to finish patching) but one thing that I learnt long ago is that people detaining power are easier to deal with when they growl, bark and snarl… because aside of the entertainment value it makes it easier for everyone to recognize them as “dangerous” and thus worthy to keep an eye onto.

And in today’s super-sensitive media-driven age, when you are under scrutiny you have a tougher time getting away with even brushing your teeth, let alone get up to shenanigans. Win-Win?

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Dug From The Earth

Its always been a game these big companies have been playing. Pushing things as far as they felt they could push without waking the bear. It was only a matter of time before someone pushed just a tad bit too hard.

Now the bear is awake, which undeniably is a good thing for gamers. Gamers and even people outside of the gaming community, are being informed on the way these companies are doing things. Thats a good start to a “world” that was spiraling downward for too long now.

Lets just hope the bear doesnt sniff for a few moments, and go back to sleep.

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Rolan Storm

*chuckles* We can’t win, can we? Oh, well.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

. . . EA delved too greedily and too deep . . .

Are you suggesting they found some ancient evil??? Run!

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A Dad Supreme

Not an ancient evil but a new, more combined powerful force…

It’s Amazon and LOTR… how bad can it really be?

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A Dad Supreme

Whenever a mass gun shooting happens in the US, it seems that 70-80% of the country is not only upset, but appalled, disgusted and angry. They immediately say what a tragedy it is that just happened, how laws should be “strengthened”, they demand someone “look into it”, and there is always the expectation that “this time will be different”. Most shootings, people were deluding themselves and just hoping on hope.

When Sandy Hook happened, almost everyone was sure that “something changed”. After all, innocent children were gunned down at school, in America, in broad daylight. There was no politician who would stand against this surely, and the wheels of justice would now turn and a massive backlash would happen against the NRA, gun lobby and firearms makers in the US. Everyone was so sure it was a “watershed moment”. Instead, we got the usual T-shirts, speeches, and black ribbons.

To me, this is how the Star Wars lockbox event is… everyone is “angry” and vow “never to buy EA games” again unless this changes or that changes. Players are running around patting themselves on the back that they “stopped EA”.

They call for boycotts, demand government action, and they get the same weak agencies who say “this doesn’t technically meet the standard of gambling”. You’re going to get the same exact treatment, CEOs won’t say lockboxes are good, they’ll just stay low and let the moment pass as it naturally will. Then they’ll make another “must have” game and people will forget, especially vloggers/bloggers who make money off of the system.

I don’t think EA did anyone favors but I also don’t think players will fare any worse. I think things will just go along like they usually have regarding lockboxes. They will always be sold and people will always start out buying cosmetic ones, sending a financial message they are open to them and slowly accept the P2W ones.

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Ken from Chicago

It’s the old tale of the frog in the pot. Dump a frog in a pot of boiling water and it’ll scream and immediately jump out but put a frog in a pot of room temperature water and *slowly* turn up the heat and the frog won’t notice as it’s being boiled to death.

Until EA comes along and dumps in a gallon of boiling water and frog jumps out screaming. ;-)

— Ken from Chicago

P.S. Ken from Chicago is not a … frogologist … and doesn’t know if frogs actually scream. ;-)

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Bryan Correll

Apparently they do indeed scream.

But modern frogologists generally agree that a frog will jump out of a heating pot long before it becomes dangerously hot. Unless you put a lid on the pot. And what kind of sick bastard are you for doing that to a poor frog?

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Arktouros

I don’t see any long term meaningful changes coming from this.

A lot of politics is posturing. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were politicized figures trying to hitup EA and other major companies for money to defend their point of view. America is the original pay2win game. More over politics moves incredibly slow as related issues have to be examined as well allowing both sides to milk the topic (and it’s donors) as long as they please. That slowness does no one any favors as companies are able to adapt and change their business models as needed making the topic eventually irrelevant. We’ve already seen this happen in other countries that have put laws in place to protect consumers that the companies then bypass by changing their business model.

My prediction is they’re going to continue to follow in the footsteps of MMOs and simply offer a benign cash shop up front that sells little to nothing but adds the infrastructure and then simply offer gamble boxes later on down the line once reviews are in.

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Robert Mann

America learned this behavior from millennia of rulers overseas, and actually started out with people in charge who avoided said behavior and were hoping that a few basic rules would keep that tradition going (naïve, certainly!)… but that’s the only thing I have to correct in this matter.