EA's Social Justice Battlefield V "Gets Woke, Goes Broke"
If you are even slightly in touch with the gaming world, you have probably heard of the gaming company called Electronic Arts (EA). Now, to provide some context to the Battlefield V situation I am going to recap on the scandals surrounding the company over the last few years. EA has been rushing out a new major video game release each year in at least one of its major franchises. If you remember, not that long ago EA released Star Wars: Battlefront 2 and was met with such severe backlash that EA earned the record for the most downvoted post on Reddit at -668,000.
StarWarsBattlefront | Reddit
The problem was the loot box system that offered a pay to win business model to players by allowing them to either earn in-game credits when you play to unlock new and better weapons and upgrades, or you could simply buy loot boxes and instantly unlock whatever it is that your after giving you a distinct advantage over players who couldn't afford to spend more money on an already full priced game at $60 dollars, and that's just for the base edition.
The reason for the loot boxes from EA's perspective is simple, money, and when fans called them out on the greedy model even various international media outlets took notice of what was happening. They were forced to remove the loot box system altogether when several governments began taking notice as well with some countries even making loot boxes illegal since they were virtually underage gambling.
Naturally, they had already calculated estimates for revenue they would gain from those microtransactions and perhaps as much as half of their overall expected revenue just vanished. This is on top of the fact that the EA had promised players that they would be releasing Battlefront 2 as a live service game which means new content would be regularly added and devs would be practively pushing out updates and bug fixes that would improve the game.
The reason for this new live service model was the backlash that the first Battlefront received over the fact that $60 only got you half of the game, and if you wanted the "downloadable content" they would be adding you must purchase a season pass which nearly cost as much as the game itself at $50. The problem with this is most casual gamers either aren't going to drop $110 or simply couldn't afford to and so the player base was split between those who had the DLC and those who did not.
This meant longer queue times, and some game modes died out altogether. Battlefront 2 also featured a female protagonist in the story mode which brought a lot of groans at first but I think as a whole the Star Wars fandom has come to love the character Iden Versio. The reason I went to all the trouble of explaining that, if your still here, was to show how EA has learned nothing about their flawed business practices.
EA decided to go even more "woke" with Battlefield V by adding a twist to World War II and releasing a first trailer featuring a disabled woman on the battlefield with a hook for a hand blasting soldiers away in frontline combat and diving through buildings as they blew up. The message was clear, "we support 'wahmen' and diversity and we are going to go out of our way to shove it down your throats". In fact, Battlefield V's story mode features female protagonists as well, imagine that!
What really upset fans of the franchise though was that instead of being historically accurate and honoring a small group of men who pulled off an amazing feat in destroying one of Germany's main "heavy water" facilities, they rewrote the story so that it was carried out by a single girl and her mother. They also added plenty of women to the battlefield which I don't have a problem with because they are female soldiers, that is a reality, but there weren't nearly as many female soldiers as Battlefield V makes it seem like. Oh, and did I mention that the reveal trailer is currently sitting at 501,000 dislikes and 341,000 likes, not a very good ratio.
Adding fuel to the fire was the fact that words and phrases were blacklisted in the game's chat such as "white men", "Titanfall", and even "Nazi" IN A WORLD WAR II GAME! You could say phrases such as "Asian men" and "black men", those weren't blacklisted. So, what was EA's response to all of this backlash? Well, EA's Chief-Design-Officer Patrick Soderlund told players in an interview with Gamasutra that if they didn't like the "woke" SJW version of Battlefield V, they could "accept it or don't buy the game".
And that is just what fans did.
After being told that their opinions didn't matter and if you didn't like a feminist agenda being forced down your throat then you didn't have to buy the game, players didn't buy the game. Imagine that? Battlefield V's sales are down %80 compared to the previous Battlefield game. EA was not happy at all with Mr. Soderlund and he was fired for telling people not to buy the game. Also, when it came to preorder numbers, Battlefield V was 85% behind its competition, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
Analysists forecasted that the game would be a "serious disappointment" and also "put the company’s financial guidance at risk." So what does EA do now that fans listened to Mr. Soderlund and didn't buy the game? Two weeks after its release, the game was discounted to %50 off during black Friday. This is unheard of for a supposedly triple A title from one of the largest game development companies in the world.
And as if the Black Friday sale price wasn't enough of a slap in the fact for anyone who pre-ordered or bought the game at release, EA decided to make Battlefield V $50 off for the foreseeable feature if you own the previous Battlefield game. Well, who is most likely to buy Battlefield V at launch for full price? The players who are loyal fans of the franchise and own the previous Battlefields. This was a major slap in the face to their fan community and many players paid $100 or more for deluxe editions that they could have bought for $50 if they waited another week or two.
The sales are so bad for the game, that @EAHelp on Twitter, an official EA account was giving out free codes to the game to people who tweeted at them with complaints. If you really want to know how popular a game is, you can go to Twitch.tv and see how many people are streaming it. The numbers on Twitch are abysmal with hardly any Battlefield V streamers and virtually no viewership when compared to its competitor Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.