Published on December 3rd, 2017 | by gareth15
Why Does Activision Get A Pass For Micro-Transactions In Call Of Duty While EA Gets Roasted For Having Them In EA Star Wars Battlefront 2
It has been no secret that EA Star Wars Battlefront II has had its share of issues and detractors. The biggest of which is the use of Micro-transactions as a main component of the game. For those not willing or able to play excessive hours of the game to unlock power up cards which gives players all sorts of new weapons and abilities as well as access to other hero characters.
The fallout was severe and as a result, EA disabled the controversial practice of buying crystals at launch but reaction to the game has not been what has been anticipated and neither have the sales.
This morning I was playing Call of Duty: WW2 which I have enjoyed since the game launched. I have been spending more time in the Headquarters and this morning I went over to the store to browse what was available to buy and selected Jumping Jacks as my purchase. The game gives you 100 COD points as Payroll and players can earn more through various actions in game. However, players may also buy more COD points using real currency and I noted that 200 points could be purchased for $1.99.
This leads me to my question, why did EA Star Wars Battlefront 2 take such a beating from gamers and the press over their inclusion of Micro-transactions and Call of Duty: WW2 gets a pass.
For me it comes down to competitive balance and fairness. In Call of Duty, the items you can buy are for the most part cosmetic or stylistic and do not tip the competitive balance too far. If you want to have a certain emote, look, or gun that is fine. Save up your money, and if you have to have it now, you can purchase it. You may not be able to use it until you get to a certain level and may find it does not really do much to alter and improve your gameplay. You also get free crates which give you the chance to obtain items without having to use in game or real life cash.
For EA Star Wars Battlefront 2, the perception is that the transactions could be used to tip the competitive balance. Being able to purchase and equip Star Cards which can increase the amount of damage a player can unleash or take does indeed change the balance of the game as would being able to access certain characters, vehicles, and abilities for both ahead of players who would have to rely on level grinding and random luck versus financial transactions in order to obtain them.
The other factor is reputation. EA has a bad reputation amongst gamers. They have often been voted the worst company in fan polls and you can see a long list of issues ranging from buggy launches to less than stellar customer service for gamers who have voiced displeasure with games that did not work as promised at launch.
This has caused EA to have a severe lack of trust with the gaming public so as a result the inclusion of such blatant Micro-transactions in EA Star Wars Battlefront II as well as the upcoming UFC 3 and other games has caused fans to revolt in a way that they would not do so with other companies. As such Activision gets a much bigger pass for such transaction in Call of Duty: WW2 as they are not seen as so blatant nor a game changer.
The issue of paid in game content is not going away as it seems to be a staple of the industry, but the perception of having them as Pay to win versus in game enhancements is a big issue and one that is not going to go away anytime soon. It will be interesting to see how publishers address this issue going forward as I for one would love to see the focus put back on the games versus the internal business aspects.