Spokesperson claims fees for previously free items were 'part of a small-scale test'
EA PopCap briefly implemented new in-app purchases into its popular free-to-play mobile game Plants Vs Zombies 2 this week before quickly pulling them after angry player feedback.
Lawnmowers, which are used as the last line of defence against zombie attacks in the tower defence game, previously respawned after each level for free of charge. But following a recent update, users were instead asked to purchase replacements for 2,000 coins worth of in-game currency, even after failing or completing a level.
One Reddit user claimed the developer had "fundamentally changed a core mechanic of the game in order to make you pay more".
Following angry feedback, the newly added microtransaction was quickly removed from the game in a subsequent patch.
In a statement to ArsTechnica, a PopCap spokesperson claimed the addition of an extra IAP to a core game mechanic was part of a "small-scale test".
"We are always testing new features in Plants vs. Zombies 2," read a statement from the developer.
"The lawnmower feature noted by some players was part of a small-scale test and is now over."
The latest controversy over in-app purchases comes shortly after EA recently got in hot water over Mythic's use of microtransactions in free-to-play title Dungeon Keeper, which developers and players alike have accused of being too aggressive.