The state of Hawaii is launching an investigation into Electronic Arts (EA) for “predatory practices” against children regarding their latest video game, Star Wars: Battlefront II. If you’ve been following the news during the past week, you know that gamers are angry and boycotting Battlefront II due to unfair microtransactions and lootboxes, which many believe are plaguing the current gaming industry.
It all started last week, when a Reddit user angrily posted on the StarWarsBattlefront subreddit that it takes roughly 40 hours to unlock hero characters like Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker and players would have to dedicate 4528 hours to unlock everything Battlefront II has to offer. EA attempted to fix the situation by making the statement that the progression is meant to “provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes,” which turned into the most downvoted comment in Reddit history. Since, EA has turned off all in-game purchases for the game, but there are still many problems - with the biggest being EA’s plans to reinstate crystals at a later date.
In a video press conference conducted by Democratic State Representative from Hawaii, Chris Lee, said the state will be investigating legislation banning games like Battlefront II from being played by children in the state and, possibly, on a national scale. Here is a segment of Lee’s statement:
“We are here to ensure future protections for kids, youths and everyone when it comes to the spread of predatory practices in online gaming and the significant financial consequences it can have on families, and has had on families in this nation. This game is a Star Wars themed online casino designed to lure kids into spending money. It’s a trap. And this is something we need to address to insure that, particularly kids who are underage and who are not psychologically and emotionally mature enough to gamble – which is why gambling is prohibited under 21 – from being trapped into these cycles, which have compelled many folks to spend thousands of dollars in gaming fees online.”
Lee also stated that he has spoken with representatives from other states as well, so it's not just Hawaii feeling unease about Battlefront II. When it comes to the video game's connection to gambling, Lee and all those who spoke out in the press conference have a solid point - urging children and young adults to purchase in-game bonuses in order to progress is instilling bad habits regarding money spending and addicting behaviors. It should not be something advertised to children, especially using such a family-friendly and internationally loved franchise like Star Wars.
It's also not just Battlefront II that's facing backlash against mircotransactions and lootboxes. EA's other big release, Need For Speed Payback, was ruined by mircotransactions and grinding, which you need to level up quickly and "really" compete. It was also revealed today that Plants vs. Zombies creator George Fan was fired from EA because he didn't want to make the second installment of the game a "freemium" game, which are games that make most of their profit on in-app purchases.
With all this news coming out and state representatives now getting involved, we might be looking at a turning point in the history of gaming with EA in a very bad position.
Screen Rant will keep you updated on all Battlefront II and EA news.