The idiom "the straw that broke the camel's back", alluding to the proverb "it is the last straw that breaks the camel's back", describes the seemingly minor or routine action which causes an unpredictably large and sudden reaction, because of the cumulative effect of small actions.
For those that aren't up to date, this happened recently:
Today, we turned off in-game purchases for #StarWarsBattlefrontII. The game is built on your input, and it will continue to evolve and grow. Read the full update: https://t.co/asGASaYXVppic.twitter.com/vQSOmsWRgk— EAStarWars (@EAStarWars) November 17, 2017
Which was in response to what is apparently the most downvoted comment on reddit ever, after developers attempted to defend the decision to stick half their game's unlockables and progression behind paywalls.
The response to the change has been mixed. Some praise the decision, but just as many are vocal about the way the game has been designed around this payment model and, without it, the structure is still broken.
I can't imagine that taking away microtransactions will solve the issues with Battlefront II multiplayer. They seemed critical to the structure of that game. The progression is broken.— Dan Ryckert (@DanRyckert) November 17, 2017
It's clear that people are aggressively angry, but this is hardly the first time that microtransactions have been implemented in a way that is both manipulative and greedy. It's not the first time a developer has listened to criticism either, for example Gears Of War 4 dramatically reducing the cost of its loot crates after being actively disparaged by the playerbase. However this is clearly the most widespread and pro-active form of outrage we've seen in response to microtransactions, ever. It feels like there's been a lot of building resentment spread across numerous games and, for a lot of people, this is the final straw. For every person that's forgiving EA for its mistakes, there's just as many angry at the smallprint: "The ability to purchase crystals will become available at a later date" which means this solution is only temporary.
So how do we feel about it? On the one hand you've got people threatening to boycott a game because of it's aggressive payment structure, but on the other hand you've got Ubisoft reporting that microtransactions are making them more money than digital sales of their games. Do we think this Battlefront backlash is a sign that people are fed up with microtransactions in general, or just with this game in particular? Do we think other publishers are taking note?
Personally, after recently realising just how much money I've been spending on hearthstone cards every 3 months (with each expansion) I have decided to stop paying for packs. The following realisation was that not buying packs meant I could never hope to construct any of the decks that would allow me to compete on ranked ladder, effectively locking me out of the game. Which, in hindsight, seems insane. But it's not just about hearthstone - every game I play has some version of this bullshit baked into its progression, for content that is available on the day of release and in some cases has a huge impact on the way the game is played.
Have we reached our limit? Or are we fine with microtransactions as long as they're "reasonable", or for cosmetic items only? Has this changed the way anyone feels about microtransactions in general?