So here’s what’s happening: right now, there’s a special event going on in Apex Legends (with accompanying solo-play mode), that also has its own special loot box. Not only are these loot boxes more expensive than your standard Apex pack, there are also paywalls for some content; that is to say, you have to spend around $200 USD before you can unlock some truly premium cosmetics.
Now, fans were outraged. And from that outrage, Respawn issued an apology:
"At launch we made a promise to players that we intend to do monetization in a way that felt fair and provided choice to players on how they spent their money and time. A core decision during development of Apex Legends was that we wanted to make a world class battle royale game - in quality, depth, progression, and important for today’s conversation - how we sell stuff. With the Iron Crown event we missed the mark when we broke our promise by making Apex Packs the only way to get what many consider to be the coolest skins we’ve released."
They followed up this announcement by making many of the skins available to buy directly from the in-game store. All well and good, right? Well, not quite. Fans responded to this apology negatively, continuing to chomp at the bit against the developer. But then the developer did something almost unprecedented in that situation: they bit back.
Not even kidding. The developers called their customers “asshats," “dicks,” and perhaps most enlightening of all, “freeloaders.”
So the fans issued their own open letter on the subreddit for all to enjoy:
You committed the ultimate cardinal sin, you got personal. You, as a team of professionals trying to make money, got personal. You got personal and decided to insult your playbase, calling us "ass-hats" and "freeloaders". Not a wise move.
We won't forget this. You've set a new tone for the kind of interaction we'll be having with you. It's a cold one. One where there aren't any illusions about the reality of the situation. Previous notions of "family" are dead. We are mere consumers to you, and that is obvious.
You have chosen to bring in a new era of hostility and bitterness. Well done. Great PR move.
To be fair, this isn’t a uniform consensus by the community. Plenty of people find the message cringe and even more lament that it even got to this point at all. But it does have over 15k upvotes, so clearly there’s a noticeable chunk of the community who agrees with it.
In any case, neither EA or Respawn have responded to the controversy yet. But I can’t imagine they’ll be quiet for long.