Compared to times past, EA is doing okay in the eyes of gamers – especially regarding the Star Wars license. In fact, EA’s stock is up 22% since September, as 2019 marked the turning point for the once-maligned game publisher.
EA has long been the industry’s punching bag. 2013 saw the group “winning” the worst company in America award for the second year in a row. It later canceled not one, not two, but apparently three Star Wars games and got slammed in mainstream news for Star Wars Battlefront II microtransactions. Essentially, EA was wasting its chance to produce Star Wars games.
But if 2019 is an indicator for anything, it’s that the company is slowly coming into gamers’ good graces.
Starting strong with the surprise release of Apex Legends, EA’s premiere battle royale beat even Fortnite during its launch. It also revamped Star Wars Battlefront II, getting rid of most microtransactions and cultivating a sizable player base. It’s still struggling on the microtransaction front in some areas, but that could change in the future.
After all, November’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order doesn’t have microtransactions, and it sold millions. Fallen Order is getting a sequel, and EA Motive is working on a smaller Star Wars title as well.
However, it’s worth noting that EA makes billions off of microtransactions. A company as large as this would never give that up. That said, there are ways to make money without alienating players.
Let’s look at Apex Legends, for example. This game is free-to-play, features a variety of personable characters, and every player starts each match on an even plane. There’s no room for pay-to-win microtransactions here.
Fortunately, EA knows this and doesn’t have any. Because the game is free, and players get attached to certain characters, they’ll spend to style them out. Of course, these are incremental $5 to $10 payments, but if millions of players do this, that money quickly adds up.
The point is to make a solid game first. Let the players engage with the title, and work with them to further monetize it. If players have to deal with microtransactions, they better be worth it. EA is finally understanding this.
Of course, the future is yet to come. EA is currently working with Bioware to revamp its looter-shooter, Anthem, and they could totally butcher that. But if the past is anything to go off of, the company is trying to do right by its actions. And for the future of Star Wars games, that is all we can ask for.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.
Last modified: February 22, 2020 9:49 PM UTC