EA: Crony Capitalism in the Video Game World

The political climate in the U.S.A. is charged, to say the least. With the power of mobile phones and social media what would have previously gone unchecked is now brought to light for the masses to like, favorite, or retweet.

 

If a police officer uses unnecessary force on a defenseless citizen or if the president-elect makes egregious comments on how to grab women…not only will the United States find out, but so to will the entire world.

 

This type of justice scrutiny is not limited to our government. No, this extends to the corporations and developers responsible for what we play. Because after all, that’s all we really care about.

 

EA has once again made headlines on social media. Here is a brief and recent history of EA’s questionable decisions and their attempts to take them back after the public backlash.

 

Colin Kaepernick

Now I’m not going to start a debate on whether or not it was okay for former 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick to kneel during the national anthem. But if you ask me, he had a good point.

 

After the NFL began issuing penalties to players who kneeled during the national anthem in attempts to ban the form of protest, EA continued to make Madden NFL games. Business as usual right? Well as it turns out, EA censored “Colin Kaepernick” out of a song on Madden NFL 19’s soundtrack.

 

YG’s track “Big Bank” features heavy hitters Big Sean, Nicki Minaj, and 2 Chainz. The features alone are conducive to turning up, but Big Sean’s verse (below) was censored.

 

Feed me to the wolves now I lead the pack and shit

You boys all cap I’m more like Colin Kaepernick

 

You can guess what part EA had removed. The kicker here is that after YG, Big Sean, and even Colin Kaepernick took to social media and exposed EA for this ‘mistake’, EA backpedaled and offered an apology – on twitter of course. EA now promises that Colin Kaepernick’s likeliness will be added back into the Madden NFL 19 soundtrack in a coming update.

 

 

Battlefront 1: A New Hope

The Battlefront series holds a special place in the hearts of gamers, be they Star Wars fans or not. I played Battlefront on the PlayStation Portable and found a new love for the handheld. Then just like the main canon movie installments, any news of Star Wars projects in development went silent. Soon after the Force Awakened and so did a new licensing deal between LucasArts and EA Games.

 

Battlefront One was as close to the original trilogy as you can get when it comes to set design, sound effects, attention to detail, hell they even used the original voice actors for all the fan favorites! Playing as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader never felt so fun.

 

However, the game had its issues. Mainly a COMPLETE LACK OF SINGLE PLAYER and an online multiplayer reward system that favored pay to win. It seemed like no matter how much time you sunk into the Battle Front you could only unlock so many new weapons and upgrades.

 

Oh and let’s not forget about the HORRIBLE MATCHMAKING SYSTEM. I was in a game where 90 percent of the other team had a ranking almost double that of my team. The game engine and its internal brain mechanisms fixed that after one game of getting the shit beat out of you right?

 

Sadly, I had to watch in horror as the next game began and I was once again on a team with no hope in Mustafar of winning. Those were minor grievances and the type of stuff they’d probably fix by the second Battlefront.

Battle Front 2: The EA Strikes Back
Again, EA told its fan base- I mean the Star Wars fan base – to go jump into a Sarlacc Pit. Battlefront 2 had a loot box mechanic that made chance an integral part of how well you could progress.

So much so that players stated it encouraged microtransactions and a “pay to win” strategy if you wanted to have an edge on the competition while playing online.

 

Of course, this could all be an exaggeration on the players part but the in-game mechanism for loot boxes was so bad that the state of Hawaii called for a ban on loot boxes and even labeled them a form of gambling. This ruling would have made it illegal to sell copies of Battlefront 2 to minors and restricted any form of microtransaction in the state of Hawaii.

 

EA has since removed the loot boxes but there are rumblings that they will return, although in a form not as invasive as the first time around.

 

The actual Battlefront 2 game has a 68/100 Metacritic Citric Score and even lower 1/100 user score. How is that even possible?

 

EA: Challenge Everything

With each bad decision comes a wave of fan and public outcry. This is then followed by an apology on EA’s part and what would seem like a move to make things right.

 

The takeaway here is that you have a voice and EA cares about it! Well, they care when it comes down to their bottom line. If EA is afraid that they won’t move units, then they will appease the angry millennial customers who use social media en masse to voice their concerns.

 

This not only applies to EA but all developers and publishers. Remember when the Xbox One wasn’t going to allow sales of used games? Or when Nintendo made the Wii U? Okay that last reference was a bit of a stretch, but it all comes down to where you spend your money.

 

If you refuse to buy a game, you best believe it’ll get noticed. Add a couple of hashtags and YouTube rants and you’ve got yourself the collective bargaining power for change! Just make sure you only use this power for video games, because that’s all we care about, right?

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