Does Electronic Arts Even Care Anymore?
For better or for worse, EA stayed well in the limelight this past year. Star Wars Battlefront II was a major controversy even before it was officially released. Between microtransactions, an abysmal AMA on Reddit, and drastically changing the games core progression due to customer feedback, the company took a major hit to their public image. With 2018 now here, the gaming community patiently waits to see if EA has learned their lesson with their newest line-up of games.
I won’t waste your time with another article someone wrote, telling you that microtransactions are a blight on the video game industry and that any company that uses them should be put to the gallows. That is a discussion for another time. This is about EA. When the first trailer dropped for Battlefront II I will admit I was extremely excited. I watched it a few times and thought, “Maybe this game is going to actually deliver fun multiplayer AND single player experience.” Well months go by and the news gets more and more grim. The game looks clumsy, the campaign shallow, and the progression system was essentially pay-to-win. Well, damn. What was worse was that EA was mostly silent about the whole thing and what they did respond with was arrogant dismissal and public statements that could be summed up as, “Meh, we ain’t changing it.” This was infuriating on two fronts:
- I am a lifelong Star Wars fan and I am watching a major company waste an amazing opportunity to do something great with the franchise I grew up with.
- It shows how willfully cavalier EA was despite the reactions from the players.
Sure there were some players who enjoyed the game and those who played it without purchasing any loot boxes but if you had a internet connection in any way, chances were you saw some news outlet commenting on the outrage being poured all over EA from its fans. Some countries even had to review the game to see if it violated any gambling laws.
It shows how willfully cavalier EA was despite the reaction to the players.
But here we are. A new year with new titles to get hyped up for and EA’s lineup of games has some very intriguing prospects. We have Anthem, A Way Out, and Fe just to name a few. A Way Out looks like it’s going to provide a unique experience with an intense story being told by two players. Fe feels like I will be playing 90% of the game with my mouth agape from how aesthetically beautiful it is. And Anthem? I get excited at the thought of players flying around in their Iron Man suits exploring dangerous terrain filled with monsters. Its E3 showing was great and I felt the excitement building but I almost immediately asked, “How much are people going to pay to get the coolest suits?” Why did my mind jump right to that thought? My jaded and bitter experience from BFII has me already looking for where the “catch” is. Are we going to be paying for suits? Gear? Whole parts of the story/missions? I have to be honest, that feeling sucks. I don’t like being jaded especially when it comes to looking at video games and what they can accomplish. What I am probably most bitter about that is, EA’s action have caused me, and others I assume, to think that way.
EA used to be an industry titan. While not every game they made was a gem, there were plenty that left an impression. Their partnership with other developers has given the gaming culture some of the most memorable and lasting experiences we’ve ever had. I would love to replicate that feeling and not hold onto a grudge against a money hungry super corporation who is complacent with their image so long as people keep buying what they’re peddling. Gamers sent them a very strong and loud message with the failures of BFII. It is my sincerest hope that, in the years ahead, they remember that, together, we can take this industry further and we can better the image of what it means to make games with a passionate spirit and not a greedy one.
Header Image Source: Engadget