What should EA learn from Blizzard Entertainment about microtransactions?
EA’s recent shame surrounding their use of microtransactions is now legendary. However Blizzard Entertainment have been successfully bleeding additional money of out its players for years. Their repertoire of games is as varied as is their methods of getting more money from players. Unlike EA however they have managed to keep their consumers happy.
The most obvious way in which they have achieved this is by prioritising quality gameplay experiences. Their games are good enough that people simply want to keep playing them. Titles such a Diablo 3, Overwatch and Hearthstone are really, really good games. EA prioritise the use of licences to shift titles rather than engaging, exciting gameplay.
Those who play Blizzard’s games are more than happy to pay for their additional digital content because their games are simply that good. EA seem desperate to design gameplay experiences that will encourage those whom purchase them to buy additional content to try to find more fun within their games. Blizzard have created games so good that players are keen to support Blizzard.
This has largely been achieved by creating characters that players embrace and competitive experiences that players are desperate to dominate. Starcraft 2, Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch and Hearthstone are all wonderful examples of this. Players love characters from these games and all of these provide competitive multiplayer experiences.
Battlefront 2 should have been able to achieve this same sensation but by making characters hidden between paywalls and by not inspiring competition in the multiplayer matches players are leaving Battlefront 2 in droves. Overwatch 2 may not have the licence, but it does have a strong sense of competition, it rewards its players with lootboxes and the paid for unlocks do not give competitive advantages. This has created a game people come back to for weeks, months and years that are happy to throw additional money at for nothing but cosmetic alterations.
Unless EA can learn from the likes of Blizzard Entertainment they are bound to see outrage after outrage. Fingers crossed they can make some significant differences before the release of Anthem. This will be there next major test as to how they now think they should approach microtransactions.