I sense a disturbance in the Force, as if a million voices cried out in anger and were suddenly victorious. With only a few hours remaining before it officially launches in the US, EA have announced that Star Wars Battlefront II will no longer offer paid microtransactions.
The news comes in a new blog post over at the official Battlefront website that outlines EA’s intention to remove “all in-game purchases” for at least the foreseeable future. The move followed a week of intense scrutiny and player criticism over Battlefront II‘s player progression systems and post-launch revenue streams.
The post from DICE’s general manager Oskar Gabrielson acknowledges the seemingly internet-wide condemnation over the game’s handling of its various economies. Citing player feedback as the reason for the last-second change of course, Gabrielson says that the game will now incentivise players to unlock characters and upgrades as part of the core progression loop. Whether this change is a permanent one or just something to help the game navigate the launch window so it doesn’t tank is not entirely clear. Here’s an excerpt:
But as we approach the worldwide launch, it’s clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design. We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn’t get this right.
We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases. We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing and tuning. This means that the option to purchase crystals in the game is now offline, and all progression will be earned through gameplay. The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we’ve made changes to the game. We’ll share more details as we work through this.
At the time of writing, while it is still possible to access the menus that display crystal prices, attempting to actually purchase any in the Xbox One X version will take users to a blank store screen.
They are, however, still readily available for sale on the Xbox One store so be aware of that. The PlayStation Store has gone a step further, removing both the Battlefront II Starter Pack and 4,400 Crystals packs completely. The same appears to be true of EA’s own Origin storefront on Windows PC.
The game launches in Australia today and in just a few hours in the US. It is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC with enhanced versions on the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. You can read our review (written prior to the removal of the microtransactions) here.