Yeah, you're reading right. The two time winner of Consumerist's "Worst Company in America" award, the one and only Electronic Arts, has managed to one up itself by earning that most hated Reddit post of all-time. Considering hundreds of millions of comments have been left on Reddit since its birth in 2005, that's quite an accomplishment. So, just what did it say? Well, first a quick backstory for context.
If there's one thing that has made gamer blood boil during the past few months, it's microtransactions. Games ranging from Forza Motorsport 7 to Middle-earth: Shadow of War effectively ruined their public reputation by using Overwatch-like lootbox DLC to make a quick extra buck. Gamers are known to be vocal, and boy did Microsoft and Bethesda get a mouth full.
Considering games cost $59.99 at launch, many expect to get a full product at that price. Yet, these practices mimic what is used on free-to-play mobile games, making gamers feel like they are paying for an incomplete product, and giving that money to a company that doesn't necessarily value its customers.
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Enter Star Wars Battlefront 2, a game that EA has said on numerous occasions is "continuing to listen to" to fans, going as far as producing a lengthy blog post about how it's responding to customer feedback.
Apparently those were just words, because during the past few days it's come out that the final version of the game requires you to spend upward of 40 hours to earn enough credits to unlock one of its powerful heroes (including Darth Vader). Or, you can just pay real money to skip all that work.
After coming under fire, the official EACommunityTeam account showed up on the StarWarsBattlefront sub-Reddit to defend its point of view, posting:
The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.
As for cost, we selected initial values based upon data from the Open Beta and other adjustments made to milestone rewards before launch. Among other things, we're looking at average per-player credit earn rates on a daily basis, and we'll be making constant adjustments to ensure that players have challenges that are compelling, rewarding, and of course attainable via gameplay.
We appreciate the candid feedback, and the passion the community has put forth around the current topics here on Reddit, our forums and across numerous social media outlets.
Our team will continue to make changes and monitor community feedback and update everyone as soon and as often as we can.
The comment was found extremely distasteful by gamers who saw it as a copout for defending something that is clearly not in the best interests of consumers. But just how distasteful? Enough that it has -375,000 points and growing (it was at -363,000 when I started writing this article one hour ago, for reference).
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That makes this post the most disliked of any in Reddit's history. Actually, its competition isn't even close; the second most downvoted comment only had -24,333 points.
Of course, quite a few gamers are now saying that they are going to boycott Star Wars Battlefront 2 when it launches this week Here are some of the most popular responses to EA's post:
Thanks for confirming my refund. -Mariozilla
I only sense a disturbance in your sales figures -NoBullet
Do I need to pay to downvote you twice? Because I would. -ErikyDZ
I have just achieved a sense of pride and accomplishment from cancelling my preorder -Trioxide4
If I had a credit for every downvote you've gotten I could finally unlock Darth Vader! -Brfoster
Just letting you know this was the deciding factor to not buy your game. Fuck your anticonsumer ways. -Very_legitimate
10 years ago I could put in a cheat code to unlock them if I didn't care about a sense of "achievement." Now I need to put in my credit card number. Go fuck yourself. -ca990
EA Community Manager Mat Everett apparently didn't care much for the lashback, going as far as calling gamers "the arm chair developers on this internet", a comment he later deleted but is thankfully saved on Archive.is. In return, several EA employees say they have received dozens of death threats (these comments are now protected on Twitter).
Yeah, the outrage is pretty loud, but I feel like I've seen this before, and even then those games went on to sell millions. Actually, 2015's Star Wars Battlefront got a lot of crap for not having enough content and no single player campaign, yet it sold over 15 million units.
All that really matters is how much money the game makes, and considering it's one of the most pre-ordered games of the year along with its Star Wars branding, it'll very likely go on to do very well, making EA and its investors a lot of money as they try to brush all this drama aside.
Now you know, and knowing is half the battle. GO JOE!