Outrage & Action Spread To Another EA Title With #FixFIFA
Electronic Arts' Star Wars Battlefront II (click for Reiner's review) recently sparked outrage and a rush of activism due to the game's loot crates and overall structure. Loot crates, which can be purchased with real money (via in-game crystals), are the only way to get game-changing Star Cards, thus creating a pay-to-win situation. Although at the time of this writing EA has turned off the game's microtransaction component, the company has promised that they will be back after unspecified changes are made to the game.
The Battlefront community (centering on Reddit) is buoyed by its initial success, but fixing the game's microtransactions and the way they shape the game's structure as a whole remains the ultimate end goal. Their efforts have emboldened another community – for FIFA – which is rallying around the #FixFIFA hashtag to agitate for the benefit of the soccer franchise.
Reddit user SSROCK has posted on the FIFA subreddit calling for FIFA fans to boycott the game's Ultimate Team microtransactions on Black Friday, tweet at the company with the hashtag #FixFIFA, and sign an online petition. The grievances it wants EA to pay attention to range from the long length of the competitive Weekend League (which demands gamers play 40 matches in three days), Top 100 competitive players exploiting the matchmaking system, the changed nature of the gameplay since launch, the stagnation of the non-monetized/non-Ultimate Team modes, the belief that the game is scripted, and more. Currently, the FIFA subreddit mods have created a megathread for the movement, and it's a prime talker on the page.
Although the FIFA community's complaints are naturally different than those of the Battlefront community, not the least of which is due to the fact that microtransactions are an accepted, fundamental part of the Ultimate Team mode, the progress Battlefront fans have made so far gives hope to FIFA fans that they can start their own revolution. Plus, the yearly FIFA releases have led to more of a build-up of problems that need addressing and the subsequent, rolling frustration.
Need for Speed Payback has also received criticism for its microtransactions structure, but its fans have yet to coalesce like Star Wars Battlefront and FIFA fans have. However, we could see other communities, whether that's around NFS, Madden, another EA title, or those from another publisher entirely, spurred into action.
Fans of annual sports games are used to discussing the shortcomings of titles and imploring the devs to make changes, but galvanization in this fashion and this early in the development cycle is unusual. The latter is important in that it may be early enough to make a difference while next year's title is still in the incubator, unlike DICE's situation of trying to fix Star Wars after years of development are already in place.