EA And Battlefront II Really Fucked This Up (The Jimquisition)

http://www.patreon.com/jimquisition
http://sharkrobot.com/collections/Jimquisition-merch

Star Wars Battlefront II was a bit of a misstep, huh?

EA is licking its wounds after the massive loot box backlash, but there’s little time to heal.

They got too greedy to fast, and now legislators are interested in games… and gambling.

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83 Comments on "EA And Battlefront II Really Fucked This Up (The Jimquisition)"

La Chica Incognita
Member
La Chica Incognita

I’m really hoping Disney revokes EA’s right to utilize the Star Wars license. As much as people like to complain and shit on Disney they’ve done a hell of a lot of good for the Star Wars franchise compared to the direction George Lucas had it headed in.

Then again I am hoping and predicting EA as a company will be going under in the next decade so I’m a bit biased

Uldihaa
Member

If this continues the way I expect, EA will almost certainly lose its Star Wars license. Disney does not fuck around with protecting its brand. Which would mean that Battlefront 2 would once more be the last Battlefront for the foreseeable future. How strange.

David
Member

Can I just ask a question…

Why are these still considered “micro” transactions??? When the term was coined it was a $5 purchase… tops… in a mobile game… that’s why they were “micro” small transactions… adding up… nickle and diming… literally some times nickles and dimes…

BF2 was going to have “micro” transactions for over $100…

These would have been “transactions”

Nitrium
Member
Nitrium

I guess if you include those “best value” purchases of bulk credits (which you then use to purchase microtransactions) what you say is true. But AFAIK there was no individual in-game item in BF2 that cost anywhere near $100 (i.e. for $100 worth of credits you could indulge in multiple microtransactions).

drownedsummer
Member
drownedsummer

If you control the language you control how it is perceived.

Riuny
Member
Riuny
There is no doubt that some sort of regulation is going to be made whether we like it or not. But aside from that, few questions have arised in my head which I need to think about as a gamer and also as a game designer. Also I do want to share some opinions with other people as well. 1. Personally, I think the concept of lootbox itself is not predatory at all. But when it is combined with “real-monetary value” and “game-affecting changes” it could be considered as gambling. The problem is with the term “game-affecting changes” which is… Read more »
b-rom
Member
#1. I agree. Lootboxes don’t need to be predatory. Take, for instance, the various crates you find in Borderlands. Whatever else you feel about that game, those are lootboxes, and they are not predatory. However, where it becomes predatory is when you give people a list of things that they can’t have, and then give them the opportunity to get them only through very limited random chance that they can trigger only through some form of purchase (in-game currency or otherwise). If you can purchase these opportunities with real money, which is the point 99% of the time, then you’ve… Read more »
Riuny
Member
Riuny

Thank you for throwing in your opinion. Sometimes it is just sad to see how fucked up this industry is. But I hope we can find some sort of middle-ground where both gamers and gamer-makers can be satisfied with.

Uldihaa
Member
“’Game-affecting changes’ cannot be defined 100% objectively.” Yes they can. If I have a basic Star Card (only a single ‘pip’) and another person has that exact same Star Card but their’s was an Epic card (4 pips), they have a quantifiable advantage. Their card works significantly better, such as giving more Armor for their star fighter. Actually, people are pointing out that it’s even more outrageous that lootboxes have made their way into full priced games. They’ve been consistently criticized even in mobile games. The argument that microtransactions allow a company to show a profit on a full priced… Read more »
Gorantharon
Member
Gorantharon

I’d guess EA claiming that the loss of the microtransactions won’t affect their profits is projected for the whole company and along the lines that they expect to reimplement them later.

Battlefront’s profits alone will be hurt a lot, but EA’s got more IPs, especially mobile, that bring in the dough.

Riuny
Member
Riuny
1-A. What you have described as game-affecting changes is agreeable and I do think that most people will feel the same because those are the things that directly affect gameplay. But things that have more subtle effects on gameplay (again, such as costumes or color palettes etc.) have more leeway to bypass such controversy and yet some people think those do affect gameplay as well. What could be the justification for that? 1-B. Randomized-microtransaction combined with game-affecting changes are insidious business practice. I guess it is safe to say we all agree on that. Then what if you take out… Read more »
Gorantharon
Member
Gorantharon
Let me chime in: 1-B is just called “Pay to Win”, even if you technically could level with someone, money gives them a huge advantage. The difference in perception here is often tied to the nature of the game. Being able to buy game boosts like weapons in a purely PvE game is often mostly irrelevant between players. Especially when there’s not a raiding scene. In competitive games, it kills the playerbase in most cases. (Although there are games where the playerbase seems to very much want to be able to pay to get ahead.) 2. CCGs are definitely in… Read more »
Riuny
Member
Riuny

I do agree your opinion on 1-B. The genre and systems of the game do affect whether some microtransactions feel predatory or not. I only know few CCGs that sell non-randomized card packs. It would be fine if it is a priced game but F2P CCGs definitely fall into awkward position in this debate.

Anyway, thank you for chiming in. It’s good to have some people whom I can discuss about game industry. I don’t get to have many chance to discuss this kind of stuff in offline.

Polishfury5000
Member

In regards to 1-B, the reason why Warframe gets away with those things is because: 1) You can just buy the premium currency (which frequently goes on sale) to buy exactly what you want. And 2) Warframe is a Co-op game first and foremost. There is some small PvP, but that’s not the focus. Having one player at a power advantage will just help carry through missions.

Polishfury5000
Member

Sorry for double post but I missed my window to edit.

Warframe most importantly requires you to play the game to level up your frame and weapons. Just buying a weapon/frame isn’t enough, you have to play and level it to unlock slots so you can mod it. You will earn more mods than you’ll ever need just from playing, particularly if you hit up the ‘Alert’ missions that pop up all the time.

Warframe also just launched a huge expansion too for free. Another reason why Warframe gets away with having a premium currency.

Riuny
Member
Riuny

I guess you are right. Warframe does sell weapons and armors but it doesn’t affect in game that much because it does have many alternatives to upgrade your characters’ capability without using microtransactions(which only takes relatively small portion) and some exclusive upgrades which you can only earn by playing game. That certainly makes players to feel less intrusive about paid contents.

Thank you for replying my question. 🙂

CloverMan
Member
CloverMan
Even though lootboxes dont necessary have to be predatory by nature, you also have to consider systems that surrounds them and minute details of lootbox system itself- imagine lootboxes that don’t give you duplicate items, always give you something of value (each Magic the Gathering booster had a guaranteed rare card) let you customise what you get to some extend (like boosters in Gwent – you are given 3 rare cards to choose from and you keep one), and have a guaranteed, non trivial amount of in game currency inside that assures that even if you don’t get what you… Read more »
Polishfury5000
Member
A really satisfying episode. Even if nothing happens from this long run, it’s still nice to know some suits in EA were scrambling to put out fires from the past weeks, as it’s impossible to sweep outrage this big under the rug. I feel a little bad for Dice in all this, to a point. They’re a good dev team, and responsible for some of my fondest multiplayer memories. That said, they made a deal with a devil, though maybe they got locked in indefinitely before the sleaze shown through. Was EA a grimy in the mid 00’s (forgot when… Read more »
Oliver Mendes
Member

Never understood the “just cosmetic” argument. The whole point, at least in a MP game is to look cool and stand out from everyone else. Plus, if the cosmetics really didn’t matter then why would publishers put them in lootboxes and make microtransactions out of them to begin with?

Coughee
Member
Coughee

So true. Warframe itself has a subculture of Fashion Frames; obviously its not just something most people can easily ignore. Though I can accept monetizing off of cosmetics more than I can off of pay to win content. That said, loot boxes anywhere in games is going to far, especially if they don’t have some sort of payment cap to prevent people from overspending.

Gorantharon
Member
Gorantharon

People reminisce constantly about how they logged into a gmae like WoW for the time, entered the capitol and stood next to someone who wore their epic reaiding gear.

What an impression and motivation wanting to look as cool as that was. Cosmetcs are content.

Ford.Fairlane
Member
Ford.Fairlane

“We didn’t allow Joe Camel to encourage your kids to smoke cigarettes and we shouldn’t allow Star Wars to encourage your kids to gamble.”

Ouch; that one’s going to leave a mark.

If that makes its way to Mainstream Media, I’d expect another call from Disney soon.

Randym1982
Member
Randym1982

This what happens when a company get’s too greedy and big for it’s own business. They end up fucking it up for everybody else.

Coughee
Member
Coughee

In this case, that may actually be a good thing.

killertapir
Member
killertapir

Jim: “Stop sticking your dick in loot boxes”

EA: “Instructions unclear. Dick stuck in loot box”

Benj
Member
Benj

Seriously EA how did you fuck up this bad.

We’ve got a bunch of gamers celebrating because several groups of politicians want to regulate video games… to protect children!

…I never really expected to be on this side of that argument!

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

Same here, feels bad man!

Chris
Member

Actually it feels pretty great if you don’t view government regulation as an inherent evil. In the case of gambling, which this is, regulation is necessary to have an environment where gamers aren’t being cheated.

Coughee
Member
Coughee

Well, yeah, but there was the push for government regulation way back when they were trying to stop violent video games and such by having the government regulate it.
Which despite the nature of the discussion is another topic entirely, but it did certainly put regulating video games in an understandably negative light. All things considered, this turn of events was unfathomable.

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn
Pretty much this, I remember the violent video game controversies in the 90s, and 2000s. I remember the media spectacles lead by Jack Thompson, and all the politicians trying to outright ban “Violent video games” along with the fact anything violent happens, they immediately say “He was playing doom in his room, which lead to his violent tendencies.” (Corolation does not mean causation, if anything it’s been proven that violent and aggressive video games act more as a cathartic means, and a way to reduce stress and work through one’s problems.) I do agree that we need to regular Microtransactions… Read more »
Chris
Member
It’s exactly what the ESRB and the ESA want for us to equate those two things. This is an entirely different thing, and defending the industry from actual, necessary regulation of their shady, predatory gambling practices because ‘but what about that one time with Mortal Kombat?’ is playing into the hands of giant multinational corporations that do not give a shit about you. Game publishers are not your friends. The ESRB is not on our side. It is there to protect billionaires and shareholders who see you as an asset to exploit to make themselves richer, and like a lot… Read more »
Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

As I said in a comment awaiting moderation, I do agree we need regulation against these types of business practices. That’s what the FTC was created for.

However, I also remember the other times the government tried to regulate, and in some cases, are still trying to regulate games due to their content.
Hopefully the full message will be approved soon, but I agree with your sentiments.

Chris
Member
And again, censoring media for content is a different thing that regulating business practices. One is fundamentally a free speech issue and it was right for companies to fight back and avoid government regulation of what they could or could not say or do in their games. Regulating gambling is something we already allow the government to do, you can’t run a casino with slot machines or other automated forms of gambling without a huge amount of inspections to make sure the odds are fair and without making sure you aren’t allowing children to use them. Saying that we shouldn’t… Read more »
Jiryn
Member
Jiryn
As I said, I fully agree with your sentiments. It’s predatory on multiple levels, beyond just gambling, but they treat the items in game, digital items, as perishable good which need to be repurchased repeatedly, this all needs to be regulated and fixed. I’ve felt the government has needed to step in for a while. The government’s job is the safety and welfare of their citizens and continued welfare of their population. Not to line their own coffers with coin, yet many current politicians seem to forget this simple fact and instead try to impose the ideals of their financial… Read more »
Chris
Member
I know you agree, but my point is we need to stop even mentioning this in the same breath as the attempts to regulate game violence in the 90s. That is a false equivalence that the game industry /wants/ us to use because it casts the ESRB and the ESA as eternal good guys standing up to the government who hates gamers and doesn’t understand our hobby because they are old and out of touch. Those lawmakers still exist, but they are in a minority now and they largely have learned that video game violence, like horror movies and crime… Read more »
Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

Off topic the “Feels Bad Man” is supposed to be a joke considering the current administration.

La Chica Incognita
Member
La Chica Incognita

I remember as a baby hating Joe Lieberman and Hilary Clinton for wanting to regulate video games…

Man times have changed.

Natalie
Member
Natalie
I’m reading the document from the Belgian Gambling Commission. What’s interesting is that they didn’t just look at pay-to-win mechanics in Gamblefront II, but also analyze the situation around cosmetic items. Overwatch and and CS:GO are mentioned explicitly to demonstrate how these in-game items can be said to have a “real monetary value” even though to an outsider they seem to have no real world value. They say that in most multiplayer games, there is a strong competitive atmosphere which extends to “who looks the best”. Also I can’t help but wonder if one of the researches watched Jim’s videos.… Read more »
Natalie
Member
Natalie

In case anyone is interested, a direct translation of the Minister of Justice’s statement:

“If one starts mixing gaming and gambling, at that age, it’s quite dangerous, I feel, for the mental health of a child. So we have to forbid it, but that takes time, because I have to go to Europe with this to be able to do that with the Gambling Law. But we are certainly going to try.”

Galactix100
Member
Galactix100
While not technically illegal as we all should know by now there are still plenty of common sense ways to regulate. One of the obvious ones is treat it the same as a gambling mini-game in the game and force any game featuring loot boxes to be restricted to 18+ age ratings which would at least limit the exposure. Introducing maximum price limits could potentially help, although it relies on the publishers/developers acting like wankers for it to work to its full potential which is unlikely. Forcing the drop odds for all items available through loot boxes a la China… Read more »
Uldihaa
Member

Just to let you know, the legal age to gamble in Las Vegas (for example) is 21. It ranges in the US from 18-21, so to comply with gambling laws you’d have to create a new 21+ rating. And like the NC-17 rating for movies, it would almost certainly be a death sentence to a game.

Benj
Member
Benj

I think the “cosmetics have no value” thing that some people say is really weird.

If you go to any mall in any town and remove all the stuff that isn’t sold for cosmetic reasons then most of the shops will be empty.

Andreas G.
Member
This’ll be an interesting situation to play out. My guess though is that lootboxes will not end up outright banned, but be restrained under gambling laws (which will shut games that feature them out of certain markets anyway, seeing as there are countrys that have bans on gambling, most notably online gambling which is what I imagine this’ll fall under). Considering the situation in other countries, I have very little ideas to what might happen. Yes, the Hawaii legislation is good in theory, but it can still be overruled by a higher legal entity. And as for the situation here… Read more »
Almighty
Member
Almighty

Does someone know whats the theme going in the background?

saynotogamblingingames
Member
saynotogamblingingames

This is why I support Jim’s patreon because he is a new age gaming prophet lol

Terry-Osaurusus Hex XI
Member
Even if it takes time, the fact that kid’s mental health with access to gambling-esque services in games being brought up in international, public political debate means Disney are not going to like the association at all and may be forced to reconsider or put their foot down with a firm hand on EA’s bullshit once and for all. EA don’t care about their juicy cash-dispensing consumers’ concerns, but their business partners? Especially larger more powerful ones such as Disney who kind of care about their IPs? Oh they’ll listen to them all right. They’ll listen with hand-wringing intensity. You… Read more »
saynotogamblingingames
Member
saynotogamblingingames

Amazing work! Jim thanks for giving a shit.

Greene Scott
Member
Greene Scott

So what’s going to happen to DICE in all this, do you think this is their first step in closing down?

Also good, would be interesting to see how this would go down in the UK as the ESRB’s definition of gambling wouldn’t roll here after the law was changed here when a company sold scratch cards to kids and teens in magazines and used the “Well you always win something” loop hole which is now closed.

saynotogamblingingames
Member
saynotogamblingingames

In all fairness…dice is a crap studio and under all the p2w junk swbf2 is not a well made game so dice…fuck off!

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

Once again, let’s not forget that Even Wingren, the author behind CNBC’s article stating that gamers were “Overreacting” to Star Wars Microtransactions, is on EA and Comcast’s payroll.
He’s listed as the Keybanc Capital Markets Analyst under EA’s employee directory.
(This beared repeating)

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

For those looking for sources, look on IMGUR for “Digging is fun. Who know what treasure you may find.”
You’ll find screen shouts along with sources for all the citations listed.

malcom young
Member
malcom young

Wow, are you a detective ?
Nice find btw.

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

Someone else found the info, I am just repeating and broadcasting it.
There is an Imgur thread discussing it with citations and screen shots as proof
(I listed the threads title in a comment awaiting moderation)

malcom young
Member
malcom young

i found it already… It will be everywhere tomorrow. I reposting it on every vid talking about it.

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

Yep, I’ve already posted it twice on Jim’s site and on a few other YouTube videos.
This needs to be known, we’re literally dealing with a corporate shill trying to tell us to “Calm Down” when he’s being paid by the perpetrators.

Gorantharon
Member
Gorantharon

Let’s hope this info gets around.

Disney reading on how EA failed to spin this by introducing an analyst on their payroll into the discussion could be absolute comedy gold.

Terry-Osaurusus Hex XI
Member

That was legitimately my first suspicion upon seeing that article. The fucking fucks.

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

Makes you wonder how many other lackeys are hiding in the wings.

Galactix100
Member
Galactix100

We already know Jim’s in Ubisoft’s pocket so who knows how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

Nah, he’s obviously with Nintendo after last weeks video!

Galactix100
Member
Galactix100

Probably both, the greedy bastard.

Galactix100
Member
Galactix100

I’m not sure Battlefront is a good example of the ‘microtransactions are necessary because games are too expensive to make otherwise’ line being bullshit. Of course the removal of MTs isn’t gonna hurt, it’s a Star Wars game. It was gonna make its money back and then some regardless. It’s hard to say how much of an impact dropping MTs will actually have.

If it had been a less colossal property, even something as relatively popular as, for example, Mass Effect then EA’s reassurances to the share holders that MTs don’t matter that much would be far more damning.

malcom young
Member
malcom young
It’s a glorious day ! It’s not a victory but it’s soooo good to see publishers, “gaming journalizt” and Disney put at the stake. Disney is shaking for its movie (they can, their stronghold is falling apart since several years), EA is seeing its investors coming, raging against them, don’t forget Activision that treid to mprofit of the situation with Star Craft 2: it remind me childs, one of them made a mistake and gets quarreled, another one is coming and try to ridicule the first, the parent turn to him and: – Do you also want your share ?… Read more »
drownedsummer
Member
drownedsummer

I’ve been thinking recently with it approaching year-end the difficulty of deciding on what my favourite games are.

I now think it will be far harder to decide on what Jim’s best video has been this year.

Aotrs Commander
Member
Aotrs Commander

Pahahahahahahahahahaha!

*gives Jim a figurative high five*

Yeah, this might not win the war, but it’s nice to see a small victory now and again. (It is a shame that our UK authority elected only to “keep an eye on it” – but then again, maybe if other places start doing something, they might have to come down off the fence. We can but hope.)

I take a bit of personal satisifation after seeing Unicronic Arts chew up so many of my favourite developers and their franchises (Bullfrog/Dungeon Keeper, Westwood/C&CF, Bioware) that some petard hoisting is finally happening.

InfamousDS
Member
InfamousDS
Jim’s laugh partway through? Glorious. Anywho, Australia is notoriously insane when it comes to over-regulating. While everyone has their money on Belgium since they talked about it first, I bet that the land down under will beat them to the punch and set worldwide precedent. And while they haven’t been in the news over it, I have a feeling Japan will be making an announcement soon (if not already). Japanese games made for the homeland are almost notoriously lacking these gambling mechanics outside the mobile space, opting instead for up-front payment MTX and micro-DLC. Gambling as a whole is heavily… Read more »
Hugrid
Member
Hugrid

The thing with Belgium is that it’s in the EU and the EU’s parliament is based there.

Basically any EU nation moving towards putting restrictions on lootboxes is the first step towards getting the second largest economy (and consumer market) in the world doing something like restricting anything with lootboxes to a particular ESRB age bracket. Which in turn would be a powerful incentive for AAA publishers moving away from the horrible trend we’ve had.

Same with Hawaii vis a vis US regulations.

zekses
Member
zekses

This proves that Jim’s bashing of OW lootboxes was completely unjustified. When publishers overstep, authorities intervene. Blame morons at EA all you want, but Hit… Activision really did nothing wrong.

Chris
Member
Except that EA wouldn’t have started down this path if they hadn’t seen Activision’s example working so well, and people jumping to blindly defend a multinational corporation as it exploits gambling habits and believed fans would jump to their defense too. The coming crash and the coming blowback are going to hit all the ‘AAA’ publishers who have engaged in this kind of thing, and if there is any justice in the world Activision will be right there with EA and Ubisoft getting dragged before bodies of lawmakers and having their internal documents and all of the code for lootbox… Read more »
malcom young
Member
malcom young

The autorities wouldn’t have intervened if a line wouldn’t have been crossed. Imo they were waiting, knowing perfectly the problem because they reacted in two days. Activision did nothing wrong ? Really ? You sure ? Diablo’s auction house for example ?
Activision is part of the problem, microtransactions have nothing to do in a AAA game, it’s a F2P model, and the patents ? Of course they created them but never implemented them… anybody who would trust them is ingenuous. If you’re fine with activision, you’re part of the problem.

drownedsummer
Member
drownedsummer

No, it actually entirely justifies it as they are all part of the problem.

Djurkwahd
Member
Djurkwahd
Actually this proves quite the opposite. If EA reached further than others, it is because they stood on the shoulders of giants. None of this happens without OverWatch to kick it off. Seems people forget that this isn’t EA’s first go at lootboxes. Back in, what 2011?, Mass Effect 3 had lootcrates, and they were very much tied to progression. Weapons and classes and such were randomly acquired and upgraded. And you know what? They didn’t sell. Weren’t popular. So EA dropped them. No boxes in Dragon Age Inquisition. Indeed, it wasn’t until OverWatch spawned a Horde of fans screaming,… Read more »
malcom young
Member
malcom young

@Djurkwahd i saw a vid on this subject recently and almost all AAA games had lootboxes since OW. It’s frightening.

drownedsummer
Member
drownedsummer

Actually, the ME3 lootboxes did sell. An ex-Bioware employee shared some rather candid thoughts on this in an interview recently, citing that at least one person spent 15,000 on lootboxes which also led to Inquisition having multiplayer. Although I find odd that they didn’t implement lootboxes as I never touched the DA: I multiplayer.

Galactix100
Member
Galactix100

I think the DA:I multiplayer had some funbux bullshit premium currency for lootboxes which is more EA’s MO.

drownedsummer
Member
drownedsummer

Which would be the same as ME3. If I recall correctly you needed to play about four matches to get enough in-game currency to buy the most expensive and best available lootbox, which obviously could just buy outright with real money and skip that.

Aotrs Commander
Member
Aotrs Commander
ME3 was the first (and remains only one of two) games I ever played multiplayer on. And that was for a brief period, before I got bored and the lootbox system killed my interest. Since I had no desire to grind for the random chance to play some of the new shiney toys and I sure as HELL wasn’t going to spend money on random anything. So I just stopped. Bioware MIGHT have gotten some money out of me if I’d been able to buy the newer classes direct as microtransaction DLC. (Might.) But, of course, they had permenantly blotted… Read more »
Terry-Osaurusus Hex XI
Member

There’s always one…

Nitrium
Member
Nitrium

It makes zero difference what the “prize” in the lootbox is. The fact is you can spend real world money in OW for solely a CHANCE to get something that you want (and would make you happy) – whether that’s a snazzy new outfit or a funny emote (or in BF2’s case, a P2W gun) makes no difference to the neurological response triggered by said lootbox and encourages addictive behaviour in certain individuals.

Nitrium
Member
Nitrium

It makes zero difference what the “prize” in the lootbox is. The fact is you can spend real world money in OW for solely a CHANCE to get something that you want (and would make you happy) – whether that’s a snazzy new outfit or a funny emote (or in BF2’s case, a P2W gun) makes no difference to the neurological response activated by said lootbox and encourages addictive behaviour in certain individuals.

MuddyScarecrow
Member
No matter the outcome on this situation this has been a pretty tasty chunk of schadenfreude due to the fact that we all know EA thought they’d get away with this. As previously stated this was meant to be an “apology” for Battlefront 2015’s lack of content what with all the content this supposedly had. That they just couldn’t goddamn help themselves shows that they seriously thought people would be ok with this. “Oh they’ll eat it all up we’re the good guys now! We have a half finished campaign now they’ll have no choice but to love us!” And… Read more »