The company behind the new Star Wars Battlefront II video game has responded to pressure from irate gamers who complained about a feature offering players the option to pay extra to unlock the game’s most desired characters.
Electronic Arts, which developed the game, said on Thursday night that it is temporarily turning off all in-game purchases in Star Wars Battlefront II ahead of the game’s worldwide release on Friday. “We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases,” Oskar Gabrielson, the general manager of DICE, the EA unit that developed Battlefront II, said in a statement. “We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing and tuning.”
Players have trashed the game this week (portions of the game have been available to players since last week), complaining about how much money they need to spend to unlock sought after features and characters through in-game purchases, and on top of the game’s $60 sticker price. Some users even accused EA and Walt Disney, which owns the Star Wars franchise, of promoting gambling because of the way the in-game purchases are structured. Regulators in Belgium are even investigating whether or not the game, and others, should be put in the same class as other forms of gambling.
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As Fortune noted earlier this week, the fact that the in-game purchases in Star Wars Battlefront II involved players paying real-world money for so-called “loot crates,” randomized packages of extra features and characters, launched a debate in the gaming world over whether or not those purchases constituted gambling, because players were being asked to put up sometimes large sums of money for an uncertain return. Players had previously complained that EA made the game too difficult, and the game maker already responded by promising to make it easier for gamers to unlock their favorite characters.
Gabrielson apologized to the game’s fans for the controversy in his statement. “We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages,” he said. “And we’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn’t get this right.”
Meanwhile, EA’s stock is down nearly 3% on Friday morning over Wall Street’s concerns that gamer outrage could hamper sales of the highly-anticipated video game.