UPDATE: EA has backed off, and has decided to offer the weapons at no charge. Kotaku has more. This is what I get for leaving a post in Movable Type purgatory for a week.
Electronic Arts’s “Battlefield: Bad Company” is aptly named: the new first-person shooter contains several locked weapons, the purchase of which disadvantages those who only pay for the game. Unlike most purchasable extra content, such as additional songs in Guitar Hero, the weapons for sale in Bad Company give the buyer a competitive advantage over other users, which sort of spoils multiplayer mode for gamers who only bought the standard version of the game.
Our sister site Kotaku explains the situation thus: “Cosmetic additions and extra maps are all well and good, but allowing players to pay in order to get a leg up on the competition is just slimy.” Others agree: a proposed boycott has received over 2000 Diggs. Kotaku fears that EA might just be testing the waters for more extra content, maybe even better players or more ammo. A video from the boycott site illustrates this:
Companies like Blizzard, which publishes World of Warcraft, have forbidden users from selling any virtual content in the real world, a move that eBay has backed up. Perhaps they were just preserving their future monopolies?
(Thanks to Justin!)