You would think that making new Star Wars games in the era of annual film releases from Disney is a can’t-lose scenario, but you weren’t counting on publisher Electronic Arts. But while your Star Wars: Battlefront II release didn’t go as planned, EA, you won’t come away from 2017 empty handed thanks to our GamesBeat Rewind year-end event.
The ‘How Do You Screw That Up?’ Award winner is …
Listen to us discuss this category in the audio version of the podcast right here:
Electronic Arts should be hitting its stride with Star Wars license right about now. It is two releases into its massive shooter franchise, Battlefront, and it has had several years to work on other blockbuster games in the galaxy far, far away. But maybe Luke Skywalker was talking to EA when he said that “this is not going to go the way you think” in one of the trailers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Instead of mastering The Force, the power of the Star Wars universe has seemingly blown up in EA’s hands. So how did the publisher trip over on its way to a slam dunk? Well, it was a combination of factors, but at the core was a pay-to-win loot-crate system in Battlefront II. That feature introduced a way for players to spend more money to get an advantage in the online competitive mode in EA’s shooter. Fans hated that idea and gave the publisher every warning that it wouldn’t go over well if it was in the final game.
Fan backlash grew so loud that it attracted mainstream press coverage and the attention of government representatives because of the similarities between loot boxes and gambling. The attention was so toxic that Disney actually called up EA on the day before the official Battlefront II release date — and later that night, EA removed real-money purchases from the game.
And now EA hasn’t just tainted its Star Wars games, it has potentially brought on the beginning of the end for loot boxes as a business model. So … well done.