Speaking on the subject itself beyond Dropped Frames: the reason why people are up in arms about loot boxes and microtransactions is because it just keeps getting worse and publishers have largely ignored the vocal minority of the power users (informed core gamers as opposed to casual mainstream gamers that don’t have the time or inclination to stay informed on the industry). A game like Battlefront is marketed to 1) youngish teens and kids that don’t do product research, 2) parents looking for something to buy their kid for the holidays, 3) mainstream Star Wars fans, and 4) casual gamers looking for a spiffy new distraction away from their workload.
For the informed, buying power in a game means that the developers must actively design the system in order to make the gameplay so unappealing to certain people that they want to buy their way into a level playing field and skip the time-wasting monotony in their busy lives. Why do this at all with an agonizingly slow and randomized progression system unless you’re trying to exploit fans into paying for their favorite characters?
And so, the reason why the subject has become such a raging dumpster fire recently is because that informed minority has decided to get louder than usual in order to affect real change to fight exploitative industry trends that don’t only hurt power users (core gamers). And this is one of a very rare few times in the recent history of the industry that we actually did affect change by spreading the coverage and creating a more informed public consumer base. You have to go very hard on the PR war in order to impact huge companies like that.
The results from “adding fuel to the fire” in the general public arena: EA walked back on their microntransactions temporarily, with the full intent of reintegrating them in predatory industry fashion shortly after launch in order to save shares and preorders. But this isn’t enough, and people know it, so they’re still fighting. Of far more significant note, the huuuuge and continuous PR stink from this actually hurt EA’s stock value despite a the current growth trends in the market. https://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/7dmku8/eas_stock_is_falling_and_its_because_of_us_they/
Long term, the whole point of this is to establish a hard precedent against the industry jumping off the deep end of steadily increasing predatory microtransactions. Voting with your wallet as an individual does next to nothing, but voting with your vocal opposition and your wallet as part of a larger whole shapes the industry by establishing a very hard precedent for market exploitation boundaries. Optimistically, we may get Disney to pull their exclusive Star Wars license from EA, the publisher that won the title for “worst company in America” two years in a row and killed Visceral, Origin Systems, Bullfrog, Westwood, Mythic, Maxis, Pandemic, and Dreamworks Interactive. And EA boardroom decisions have already crippled Bioware’s reputation, which could mean terminating yet another much-loved and successful development studio.