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"Early last week, a petition surfaced with the intent of requesting that LucasFilm parent company Disney remove the Star Wars license from Electronic Arts. As can be expected, Star Wars fans were frustrated with the studio’s handling of the franchise for Battlefront 2, especially as it pertains to microtransactions and loot boxes.
When we first reported on the petition, it was gaining steam and had about 19,000 signatures, but now it has exploded. It’s only a few days later, and now the petition is up to 110,000 signatures and climbing.
While this petition has attracted a ton of attention from fans, it is unlikely actually to result in Disney removing Electronic Arts’ license at least right now. The two companies most likely signed a contract that guaranteed EA would be the sole publisher for Star Wars games (not including Disney) and any breach of that contract would result in a hefty fine. That being said, if the agreement needs to be renewed, then Disney might think twice about partnering up with EA again.
If nothing else, things like this petition and gamer boycotts of Star Wars Battlefront 2 will force publishers to rethink how they approach monetizing games through microtransactions and loot boxes. There has always been a slippery slope when it comes to add-ons, but recently developers and publishers have begun to push the envelope concerning what fun loot box content is and what is pay-to-win. A game like Middle-earth: Shadow of War, for example, chose to use loot boxes to bolster its single-player experience, which was met with plenty of raised eyebrows from gamers.
But then Star Wars Battlefront 2 came along with exorbitant price points for hero characters and loot boxes that contain Star Cards with player buffs. It wasn’t overtly pay-to-win, but EA was skirting the line by allowing players to use real money to purchase loot boxes. The company was quick to remove the Crystal currency from the game (temporarily) in the hopes of saving face for the game’s official launch.
Unfortunately, the damage was done for EA and sales have been much lower for Battlefront 2, and the company’s stock took a tumble recently. So while this petition might eventually result in Disney revoking EA’s Star Wars license, it has hopefully opened publishers’ eyes to how damaging a vocal and frustrated community can be."