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Skill Up: An Investigative Report on the History of Pay-2-Win Lootboxes

by on November 27, 2017

Apparently, there’s been massive fallout centered around Battlefront 2’s Lootbox system. Stories like this and this have been making their rounds in mainstream media because we as a community have said enough is enough when pay to win microtransactions show up in the main sections of our AAA game titles, and we didn’t say it quietly. Social Media and voting with our wallets have made quite an impact. Sales for Battlefront have been noticeably lower than anticipated, and in my opinion, much of this is a direct result of consumer mistrust with EA overall and with the way we were all treated last year with an incomplete Star Wars Battlefront base game and a $50 season pass to make things worse. Poor sales and even worse publicity have caused nearly a 10% loss in stock value since the Open Beta of Star Wars Battlefront II in early October. This kind of swing brings on heaps of extra attention as everyone looks for explanations to why the sudden downturn and what is causing our community as a whole to “overreact in our outrage”.

For those of you who have not been following, it is really interesting to see how the “outside” world looks in on our little hobby. CNBC’s take on the whole situation demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of  gamers complaints of SWBF2 as “Pay to Play.” Within one of these articles a Wall Street analyst, Evan Wingren, who claims to be a gamer thinks we pay too little for our per hour entertainment. His analysis stems from an assumption that a player will spend an average of 2.5 hours per day for an entire year on this one game…. (this first assumption is evidence he’s no gamer), and that even after spending the $60 for the base game and then another $20 per month for that year your cost per hour is only $0.40….  That’s  912.5 hours and $300. The only other game I have logged that many hours was World of Warcraft (one of the most successful games of all time). The “accomplishment” of logging this many hours of time in a game took multiple years. W.O.W. is a fairly equivalent game matching Wingren’s price point but your $15 per month is for a subscription and access to the servers, not a set of digital loot boxes with unknown content/abilities/etc. The unknown aspect of these loot boxes have drawn the attention of governments looking to label it gambling and get their cut in tax revenue, while simultaneously protecting our children in the name of decency… hahahaha, everything comes down to the all mighty $$$ or whatever currency your nation may use.

In contrast to the stories and opinions written by the mainstream media, I was able to find this great piece of journalism from a true gamer who shares a history of micro-transactions. Up until watching this I had no idea micro-transactions had been around so long, much less the pay to win type. Poor FIFA players have been dealing with this for some time now… I understand why EA would want to promote and sell loot boxes and microtransactions to improve the bottom line and demonstrate profit, but they’ve substituted quality for quantity. I desperately wanted this game to be good and from what I’ve heard it’s pretty decent but on principle alone, I cannot encourage this destructive practice of pay to win loot boxes.

Will this be the final straw for the Disney company and the end of the exclusivity deal for all Star Wars video games? Or is there going to be a possible third strike?

Consider subscribing to SkillUp’s Youtube channel, and let me know down below what you’re thinking in the comments below.


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