It's like, "Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me 37 times. . . ahh, what the hey, let's throw another 60 quid in this hole. I'm sure this time it'll be different."
That's the problem with these lootboxes, given how fast they spread to every AAA games these days (including single player games where they hardly make sense in the first place) it's obvious that the maths work out for them. The amount of principled gamers ending up not buying the game is probably more than compensated by the dividends of microtransactions. There are not enough gamers who care enough about the issue to stop buying the game. The marketing and network effect is simply too strong. A mob downvoting a comment on reddit won't change anything, it's nothing but slacktivism. Might as well sign an e-petition at this point.
It's not the first time it's like this. "We don't want always online DRM! We won't buy your game!", "We want to be able to host our own dedicated servers for multiplayer! We won't buy your game!". And now it's the new normal, hardly anybody expects these things from new releases or even mentions them. Lootboxes and microtransactions are headed down the same path IMO.
Here's my prediction: five years from now every big release will contain microtransactions one way or an other and nobody will find it surprising or inappropriate.
As for your prediction, I think you're sadly spot-on. There will always be enough whales to make it worthwhile to pander to them, and milking them will be essential for any company that cares more about making money than about making a good game.
Hate all you want, "pay to win" model works for extracting as much value as you can from each user. Same concept as Tesla artificially reducing mile range. I heard from someone working in a game studio about a "whale" user spending $1M dollars on microtransactions for a mobile game.
Take for example removing the Cancel button from the sign up screen, 5-10% bump in sign ups, etc. (Eventually Apple made us 'fix' this)
Generally, the only time a minorly annoying UX affects you negatively is when the platform penalizes it, like the notifications prompt on iOS, if they don't agree the first time you ask, you have to make the user to into settings to enable it. So generally you put your own prompt in before the system prompt, else users might deny the request.
It would be morally presumptuous on my part to say that what I find to be annoying is not what they prefer.
It's like clickbait listicles, they get written because they work.
If changing the UX results in a significant change in behavior, that actually suggests--I mean, "logic dictates" you've taken away an option that a significant number of people preferred so much they used it when it was available.
Think about it this way: Given the choice of watching channel A or channel B or turning off the TV, I choose turning off the TV. If you take away that choice, I'll choose the lesser of the two remaining evils. That does not mean I prefer not having the choice to turn off the TV.
Post-facto rationalization is just that. Users are not expressing a preference for dark patterns.
You're using a medical science to manipulate people so you can make money. You're disgusting.
Removing a cancel button or publishing a listicle is hardly a false dichotomy, you can close the app, you can not click on it.
Users love anti-patterns which is why they frequent businesses that engage in them, rather than choose another business that doesn't. I had your inclinations too when I started making them, I protested that this would lead to various bad outcomes which didn't happen. None, zero, nada. Sign ups went up, traffic went up, etc.
Dude have you ever considered the plethora of other reasons users may choose a platform/service with 'dark pattern' over others, such as that platform/service being more feature rich or having a greater utility to that user? You are deluding yourself thinking your anti-patterns make a difference in the end. Sure signups may go up, but user engagement will surely drop off if the experience is crap or hostile after onboarding. Your sign up flow is just one small portion of a user's journey in your platform/app.
It leaves me thinking that maybe melodramatic wailing on Reddit is secretly a big part of the fun.
Is the problem that EA has some sort of moral obligation to introduce only the kinds of game mechanics that a specific set of people enjoys, and anyone who responds to (and, apparently, is willing to pay a whole lot of money for) different game mechanics can go jump in a lake?
Gambling isn't really my cup of tea, either. But I suppose I also shouldn't be surprised if I were to go to one and discover that some portion of the people there are loudly complaining about what a rip off everything is, but not actually leaving the casino to go find something else to do.
As for what I have been playing, I'm really putting a lot of time into Factorio at the moment. It's an indie game that costs $20 for the entire experience and is an amazing value (I'm at hour 70 with no sign of slowing down yet).
To me, Factorio is very basically just simplified Eagle with monsters (Eagle is PCB designer software). You have underground belts (vias), smelters (ICs), inserters (Caps, resistors, 2 lead parts). Then you throw some monsters in there to give some random fuzz on the designs and make things a bit more 'spicy'.
Mincraft is much the same, it's a very basic Solidworks. You can extrude and loft with the voxels, put in some basic digital electronics (redstone), some basic fluids (water/lava), and make simple machines (look at mob-grinders). Throw in some randomness with the creepers and other mobs to make things spicy.
Kerbal is also the same. It's a basic flight simulator. You can mess with staging, centers of mass, and centers of thrust. You can do simple ballistic and orbital mechanics. Then you throw in the wonkiness of the physics simulator and the fan-named 'Kraken' and you have the randomness of monsters (I think they could have done better in this regard)
A lot of these 'indie' sleeper hits seems to be like that: Take some industrial design software, make it so basic a 7 year old can use it, throw in monsters to mess up the designs and to shoot/stab.
Other software that could be used for this process is Z-max (optics design software), some kinda Wall-Street software that's not just excel, maybe some urban planning but better/more random than SimCity/CitiesSkylines, other stuff.
EDIT: Here is a wiki page of possible avenues: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Computer-aided_engine...
I also don't think the connections are quite so close as you make them out to be. Factorio is at its heart a survival game -- you can't just dismiss the enemies as added "spice", as they are an integral part of the challenge. The advanced factory automation becomes necessary to build up your tech level high enough to take on the higher level monsters that come at you later in the game.
I get that they are games at the end of the day, but many of the elements/mechanics seem to be from 'real' software (in this category of game). It's not a criticism, it's just an observation.
For more on how to go into video game theory, PennyArcade's XtraCredits series is pretty binge-able: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCODtTcd5M1JavPCOr_Uydg
I haven't played a game in the longest, mostly because I find it hard to justify the time ... I've been reading lots about economics and finance and if I can get some "experience" to solidify the concepts while still having fun at the same time then what the hell, I wanna do it!!
(No I'm not making the spreadsheets in space joke.)
Pipe Dreams(?) about 20 years ago, and more recently Where’s my water.
My son (9), who showed me the game, spent the longest time building parts manually. I kept showing him how to automate, but it didn't really "click" until I was pumping out solid lines of green potions in front of him, then he understood the magic of automation.
It felt oddly similar to interactions with various business departments.
"Look, we're never gonna leave the planet -- I mean, make a profit unless we automate. Otherwise the aliens -- 'er, our competitors are going to rip us to shreds."
The pain, in Factorio terms, is having to sit there not doing anything. Boring. Once you set up an assembler to do it for you, suddenly you can fill that time with whatever you want to. The simple problem/solution/reward loop Factorio presents around automation works remarkably well.
Optimization, however, is harder to teach.
If anything, it probably means that the nine year old is faster at making a known factory manually than the parent.
I discovered this in my first play-through because I was prioritizing high tech research over military research, and thus didn't get laser turrets until well after I needed them to take on the stronger biters. I had to roll back an hour and change my research priorities to get them in time to prevent getting stomped.
Katherine of Sky is particularly good
There is also a demo version of you want to actually try it
I've logged many many hours of game play, and leave it running for days at a time, and it's never crashed, stuttered or even bogged down on me once! (Maybe I'm just not making big enough factories, though.)
Absolutely fun, though.
That being said, 40 hours doesn't seem like an awful amount of time to sink into a game to unlock a character. Heck, I'm ashamed to talk about how many hours I've put into CS:GO, and it's only triple digits.
Its not the 40 hours. Its the fact that its 40 hours or $10 In previous iterations of the series these types of characters were only available for free, and to every player with in a couple of hours.
Perhaps, but the ridiculous and disproportionate controversy over Cuphead makes me think otherwise.
There's a fine line between "achievements" and "play to win", and I'm sure this is testing this boundary. I just think the response is ridiculous. We're talking about entertainment, not health care.
I don't think my 48 y.o. self who's been playing PC games since before VGA would share many opinions or habits as an 18 y.o. Call of Duty player.
What am I looking at?
Meanwhile the airline industry has been growing consistently for decades.
Similarly, surely nobody would ever pay $80 for some in-game feature in an EA game. If you aren't selling EA stock now in anticipation of their inevitable demise you're a fool!
Stated preferences are very different from revealed preferences.
Maybe better worded as "Stated preferences are very often different from actual behavior."
On the other hand, it is worth noting that I am sure _at least some people_ probably really would boycott the game. Or in the case of the shrinking seat, surely _some people_ will stop flying. But this is just an example of some segment of potential customers opting to forego a good or service while simultatneously a new customer segment actually doesn't mind it (or they'll say they mind it but then like paying $100 for a roundtrip air ticket instead of $129 more than they like a slightly bigger seat).
"It's all relative" is probably applicable here. Bottom line: Just because thousands of people don't like the $80 in-game feature, enough other people, including some that don't like $80 in-game features, continue to play and/or buy the game anyways.
But my point is that a much larger segment of the population just likes to complain, and if you listen to what they're saying you'll get an inaccurate picture of reality.
For example, people who complain about the state of seats on airplanes while choosing not to book "economy plus" or "economy comfort" or whatever it's called, which often isn't more expensive than the equivalent of one sit-down meal and a beer at a cheap restaurant.
But those people won't say "listen, all other things being equal I'd prefer a bit more room, but honestly I'd rather save $40 to put up with a bit of discomfort to eat at a better restaurant once I land".
Even though that's the description that best matches reality given the data at hand. Instead they'll go on some tirade about how really they fly so much less than they used to, meanwhile air travel is increasing all over the world and we'd have to assume market researchers for all these airlines are idiots because there's some huge market segment for the taking if they'd only increase leg room a bit.
Which they'll try, but they'll quickly find out that while people complain they're really not prepared to pay an extra $40 for it. So here we are.
Like airline food, there's no effective way to reveal that you might prefer to pay a little more for something a little better, and your choice is usually limited to paying a lot more.
FWIW I try to stick to airlines I know I'll have at least a half-decent experience with. So far that's Singapore, British, Virgin, QANTAS and a few others.
But, that just means I will drive instead of take short flights, and avoid vacations that require flying. There are not a lot of options to get to say Hawaii in some reasonable time frame for work.
People want to play good games, and by all accounts, Battlefront is a good game; it has solid core mechanics and lots of Star Wars fanservice. EA just mucked it up with the shoehorning of the gambling, pardon, loot crates into the progression system.
So, what's a player to do? If they boycott the game, they are depriving only themselves of an experience they would probably enjoy for 40-60 hours. Add to that the fact that EA is looking at the huge profits they get out of lootboxes from a few "whales", and the loss of even half of their playerbase would barely touch their bottom line.
Voting with your wallet only works when someone else isn't voting with their orders of magnitude deeper wallet (for example, one player put $15,000 into Mass Effect 3 multiplayer cards). And in the end, how can you really fault those big spenders? They're just out to have fun too, and $15,000 could easily qualify as someone's 10% entertainment budget?
Video games are simply abstracted skinner boxes to begin with; loot boxes with their carefully tuned Vegas-esque lights, sounds, and reward percentages just amp up the "push a button, maybe get a reward" to the Nth degree.
And yeah, it is sad. It's probably even worse than sad.
My dad, who was a gamer in his youth, always described gaming as getting addicted to "flashing light boxes".
It was only once I was old enough to go to a bookie's and watch someone feed £20 after £20 into a fruit machine that I saw what he meant.
Fool me once shame on me. Fool my neighbor's teenager then.
Therefore, there has to be a significant quantity of repeat buyers who were already burned by EA. (E.g. EA can't wait ~20 years to fool the Millenials after milking the GenX buyers.)
Well, there are a lot of market segments to exploit, and some might not overlap that much. Also, there's 6 games listed for 2017, but each is targeted at multiple platforms so shows up 2-6 times. Finally, with the sports titles, in some cases if you want to play with a roster of real players you don't have a choice but to go with EA.
As a W:ET fan that still occasionally fires up the game, I can tell you that it's no fun seeing a desolate server list, filled only with bots.
Though looking at their Wikipedia page , I think I overestimated how much of gaming they own. Personally, I don't play any of their franchises (some of that due to being a Mac user, and how few of EA's games are ported over to Mac). As a PS4 owner, Sony and Sony's affiliates (such as Naughty Dog), and the other big publishers (Activision, Take Two) give me enough choice to not have to play any of EA's games apparently.
On the flipside, I'm not sure about how EA manages all its subsidiaries. There was a apparently a lot of political pressure on Bioware to adopt EA's Frostbite engine leading to all sorts of headache in the development of Mass Effect Andromeda. And after all that dust settled, now there is no more Mass Effect for the time being.
You can read more here: https://kotaku.com/the-story-behind-mass-effect-andromedas-t...
Why not boycott? I mean it would suck for the diehards for sure, but how long would they realistically have to wait? If EA misses 1 quarter's revenue goal, they'll be singing another tune.
The risk-adverse solution publishers are now finding is to just double-down on multiplayer and/or microtransactions.
Now .. I certainly can change my account's region, right? I'm in good standing with Blizzard, I just moved.
Well.. Prepare to hand over a government issued ID including your address or - if that ID doesn't include an address - said ID and a utility bill.
For an effing game. For a gaming network that knows me by a handle#randomNumber and an email address.
Oh - you can create a brand spanking new account from here. No ID required of course and now I have an account in the EU (my .. 'real' aka 'old' Blizzard account) and an account here (for Destiny 2, because eff you Blizzard: You don't need my ID). It makes no sense.
My point being: EA is bad, EA is crap, but even companies like Blizzard - often considered good and exemplary - are insane sometimes.
We tend to forget that EA produced great games and focus on the negative parts. For others (Valve, Blizzard) we tend to focus on the positive parts. I think it's rather easy to overreact in one way or another.
For someone like you it may not make sense, but you're not the user they instituted these policies for.
And blizzard gets crap _constantly_ from their user base, you just don't see it because you're not on those forums.
How does this protect me (or more likely: them)? I disable 2FA (..), give you my credentials or you brute force them: You own my account. How's that related with "I moved"?
And why would you ever. ever. ever give a random company your government ID? Facebook to unblock your account? Hell no! Google Plus for the same reason? Certainly not and never. Blizzard because you changed the place you live outside of their digital universe? Of course not!
They can ask me questions about games I played, purchase dates of the games I own, can send me verification mails, can use the 2FA they support, can look at my login history (hey, how funny: I logged into my Blizzard account from a SG IP, even before I made the purchase).
No, they should NEVER ask for my address or my government ID. The former would be okay if they want to send me swag and should still be optional.
Blizzard's insane here, defending them is kinda weird. Would you send your ID to Google, Facebook or .... EA? If you nod reading all of this, fine. We're just not able to agree here. If you shake your head but think that it's different for the people that allow you to explode sheep by repeatedly clicking them..: Can you make sure that you're not biased?
If your account is locked due to suspicious activity (as it was in your case) then Blizzard's only options are to A) just allow it (your account is gone) or B) make you verify that you are who you say you are. I don't think B is unreasonable.
And you didn't just 'move'; you moved _countries_. I didn't get locked out when I moved from CA to TX, but moving countries isn't all that common and they only have so much contextual information with which to make a decision.
>I am on those forums
Then you should already know Blizzard takes grief for this and many other things all of the time.
Well, people have been focusing on the poor policies of blizzard, especially with respect to battle.net, for decades now.
I had my EA account stolen once. You know what they did? Nothing. I was able to trace the culprit's real name, his e-mail address, country of origin, and ISP via an IP address (which was not provided by EA, by the way ;-)). I did not even get a response from EA's customer service, except some drone sending me a password reset, which I did not need by then.
At least Blizzard puts some effort into it. And I can, without much trouble, get a human on the phone if I call Blizzard's customer service department.
I can hand you my (EU) account data and you can steal my games. Play Overwatch for free, in my name. Play the SC2 extensions I bought. YAY!
Now, I as the rightful owner of that account cannot add a purchase to that account, because "regions". I cannot switch regions, because that requires that I hand in the most personal information I have (address, ID) unless we're talking nudes. It feels like nudes.
You can steal my account and use it for a lot of nonsense and enjoy the paid content. You cannot move my account into a different region. Cool. Neither can I...
It's not clever, it's not "putting effort into it", it is blatantly speaking just stupid.
When I wanted to create a Hearthstone account, I found that out. The Blizzard CS reps were pretty decent, and they eventually fixed the issue (I still ended up creating a brand new account with better security since I was paying money this time).
It was stolen and I was getting emails in Russian (I think) but I didn't care (mostly because of things they do like this post) until last year when I wanted to play BF2:BC so I contacted EA's customer service thinking there's no way I could get the account back, especially after 4-5 years. They asked a couple of questions and got my account back in about 15 minutes.
A new account can be created without an ID (obviously...). They never saw mine. They probably never saw my name (right, anyone can figure out my name. And I am not 100% sure that I never paid by CC instead of Paypal or prepaid or whatnot).
What is this ID going to solve? They don't know how I look like. They _might_ no my Real ID™ (remember that joke, from Blizzard as well?) aka name. If my name is common and I provide a government ID, can I steal all the accounts with the same name that .. never showed a government ID in the first place?
That approach seems so deeply flawed that I don't even understand how someone signed it off in the first place. I certainly couldn't defend this idea - it would need a lot of drinks to be creative (aka stupid) enough to come up with reasons why this might Totally Work™.
with the current system, if someone steals my account, its basically useless.
Say, my account is in DE/EU, but I could play SC2 in the US/ The 'region' dropdown is literally above the play button.
If I steal your account, I can play the games you own. I can play as you in your region (using your progress) or play as you in other regions (progress is usually not taken over).
It is FAR from useless.
I mean.. The person that stole your account just cannot throw money at Blizzard to buy a game (in his region) and register it to your account (if different region). That's verrrryyyyy helpful indeed.
Remembering the 1980s and 1990s era of awesome Electronic Arts games (their games were really arts), it's so tragic.
The average person is not technologically informed enough to even be a market participant and that is why gaming is such a disaster.
The human mind did not evolve to make rational decisions regarding technology and hence the free market is a myth for those who don't grasp evolution did not make our minds to live in a high tech capitalist society.
The most upvoted post is 283K: https://www.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/5gn8ru/guardians_of_...
Considering how upvoted-items get more and more visible, and thus more and more upvotes, it's a huge achievement for a downvoted comment to have that much engagement.
edit: via r/subredditdrama, the most downvoted comments noted so far:
Is it really brigading? The entire gaming community hates those practices. Nobody is manipulating people to downvote this comment. It's genuine hate and digust. Paying the price of a game to unlock one single character is a joke.
EA's reply is also very bad. "The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes."
I fail to see how paying $80 gives players a sense of pride and accomplishment.
There's also the fact that the main thread has 62.9k votes and is probably on the front-page. This make it so that every reddit users will go through it, see the horrible corporate answer and downvote it.
I myself am not subscribed to that subreddit and still downvoted that comment.
Edit: And there are probably people looking at https://www.reddit.com/user/EACommunityTeam directly.
Edit2: And it blew up on Twitter so that's a lot of the downvotes.
Brigading is not "illegal" on Reddit, but some subreddit's explicitly forbid cross-posting because of the brigading effect. Such subreddits require the use of the np.reddit.com domain, which points to a mirror of a Reddit thread while disabling vote functionality.
That's a lot of linked subreddits, plus you've got people from HN and probably other places going to check out "the most downvoted comment in Reddit's history".
"If content is part of the national identity or popular outside its initial entertainment function, there should be limitations on the governmental exclusivity(copyright) so that others may use."
And they ARE a monopoly. They own the rights to a lot of my favorite franchises. If I want a Star Wars game (which I definitely do), it's EA or nothing.
What monopoly? Time Warner has many different businesses and products, so you need to be specific.
They learn the wrong lessons, assuming the franchise must be at fault, not the mechanics that make the game loathsome.
I do believe in this case it's not going to work - I don't imagine among gamers there will be a nearly enough boycotters.
One thing to keep in mind is that Reddit used to normalize votes until about a year ago or so, such that it was exceedingly rare for a post to get beyond triple digits (both positive and negative). I wonder how many older unpopular comments would have made it into the negative six figures if vote totals had been uncapped sooner.
Is there a price list somewhere for what it costs to purchase various in-game things?
"While some games might offer loot boxes for cosmetic options, Battlefront II is using loot crates as their primary form of progression through the multiplayer content, via Star Cards."
edit: so after reading minimaxir links it seems you can not pay to unlock a new character, but since you have to effectively chose spending your credits (i.e time spent playing) either on improvement like weapons or new characters, it greatly incentivizes you buy in-game currency.
Else it would also be 'unfair' for a game to make you beat levels 1-99 before you can play that sweet level 100 boss battle. "I paid $40 for this game, I want to play level 100 without the grind" would be fairly weak criticism.
This issue is just a stone's throw from reeking of the hot air of entitlement. Mixed in with the anger that people can pay money to skip the grind are lamer abstract arguments like "a Star Wars game should let me play with the main characters on day one!"
Most upvoted comment: +318
Most downvoted comment: -377k
edit: and no, the sum of the rest of their comments does not add up anywhere near 377k.
Also, in my opinion, learning and entertainment don't have to be mutually exclusive. You sound like an I-don't-watch-TV snob right now, to be honest.
Which is why I've decided recently (since turning 27 and a half) to transition away from online forums and focus on building pen-pal relationships with fellow hackers through physical mail. Really makes me feel like I'm improving myself
1) The Truth: "We are greedy, and you are willing to pay for it"
2) Lie: "The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes."
3) Say nothing
Personally I think 3 was the best option, and 2 was the worst option. But they went with 2 anyway.
There was another post on Reddit which “did the math” a few days ago: unlocking a hero would take around 40 hours of play, modulo a few challenges and other purchases. There was concern about loot boxes and micro transactions affecting gameplay; I feel it’s safe to say those concerns were justified.
People are actually "hate guilding": paying real money for reddit gold in order to send "fuck you" messages to EA that they can't ignore or mute in a locked thread.
We may be witnessing the birth of a new business model.
EACommunityTeam -652k points 1 day ago [gold star] x67
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.
Was already posted, dunno why double the news!
Doesn't this sentiment have to be nearly as old as markets themselves? What makes you more angry, the fact that you cannot get the thing you want? Or the harsh realization that there is a class of people who can afford it, and you are not in that class?
Pricing is science, with a little art thrown in. EA is a publicly traded company whose stock has climbed from $12 to $120 in the last five years. Their imperative is to maximize shareholder value, not appease gamers.
The grown up thing to do is to focus on the things that you enjoy + can afford.
... but this is a misunderstanding of the nature of digital content and monopoly. The old rules of supply and demand still apply---even if satisfying demand is relatively trivial after the archetype has been created---when one party has a monopoly on supply, as EA does here. And when the archetype still takes several dozens or hundreds of person-hours to fabricate, there is still cost to EA to be offset. But even if there weren't cost to EA to offset: they have a monopoly on the product, they can charge what they will, the amount of markup they can generate is immaterial.