While EA continues to fight Star Wars: Battlefront 2 fires ahead of launch this Friday, there are others who sniff an opportunity. In this case it's rival mega-publisher Activision Blizzard, whose StarCraft 2 Twitter account had a pop at Battlefront 2 overnight.
Pop number one: "Number of hours it takes to earn the full StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Campaign: 0."
Pop number two: "Number of hours before you can play ANY Co-op Commander in StarCraft II: 0."
And pop number three: "Number of pay-to-win mechanics in StarCraft II: 0."
Number of pay-to-win mechanics in StarCraft II: 0— StarCraft (@StarCraft) November 14, 2017
Free to Play - Now Live! pic.twitter.com/a02OYUCYZU
Superficially it could be simple explainer promotion for StarCraft 2 turning free-to-play, a new business model in effect now, according to the tweets. And maybe I would believe that were it one tweet. But three separate tweets, each riffing on a specific problem in Battlefront 2?
There's history here, of course. Being two of the biggest players in any sector breeds rivalry. Remember when Activision accused EA of "suffocating" studios in 2010, to which EA hit back: "[Bobby] Kotick's [Activision CEO] relationship with studio talent is well-documented in litigation." Fire emoji!
A year later the rivalry spilled over into the marketing for Battlefield 3, which EA desperately wanted people to believe could unseat Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - an impossibility given the phenomenal popularity of the series at the time. "Everybody loves a heavyweight fight," said EA, to which Activision replied, "Thanks for the assistance in building awareness." Fingernails emoji!
But the biggest beef between the two companies was the case of Modern Warfare maestros and Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vince Zampella, whose dramatic and out-of-the-blue sacking by Activision in 2010 was followed by their founding Respawn Entertainment to make Titanfall for EA. (Respawn was recently acquired by EA, too.) Legal battle after legal battle raged for years afterwards, including one in which Activision accused EA of poaching West and Zampella, and sought $400m in damages. Popcorn emoji!
But I highly doubt the person running the StarCraft 2 Twitter account had any of this in mind while casually fanning the drama-flames for a bit of self-promotion.