314: The True Cost is “In The Game”

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The True Cost of EA

EA released a new Star Wars game called Battlefront II. One game mechanic got the Internet (represented by Reddit), into a roar: in-game micro-transactions that open random loot boxes. Not only were they expensive, but they also influenced how well you did in multi-player mode, which seemed unfair and greedy on EA’s part. With all the criticism, EA pulled the loot boxes at the last minute, but it begs the question: what is the true cost of a game? Why does EA feel it’s necessary to charge micro-transactions for performance? Is that OK? Or are they going too far?

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True Cost Show Notes

The Reddit Comment That Started It EA, Reddit

“The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.

As for cost, we selected initial values based upon data from the Open Beta and other adjustments made to milestone rewards before launch. Among other things, we’re looking at average per-player credit earn rates on a daily basis, and we’ll be making constant adjustments to ensure that players have challenges that are compelling, rewarding, and of course attainable via gameplay.

We appreciate the candid feedback, and the passion the community has put forth around the current topics here on Reddit, our forums and across numerous social media outlets.

Our team will continue to make changes and monitor community feedback and update everyone as soon and as often as we can.”


EA Reverses Course On Battlefront Loot Crates Sam Byford, The Verge

EA stock falls over Star Wars: Battlefront II concerns Tae Kim, CNBC


How a Star Wars video game faced charges that it was promoting gambling by Gene Park, The Washington Post

Activision Is Doing Loot Boxes Right, EA Is Doing Them Horribly Wrong by Forbes

“There’s a difference between a game that is annoying because loot boxes are in it, and a game that is ravaged by loot boxes being integrated into the core of its gameplay, and selling straight-up power advantages.”