EA Hasn’t Decided if Microtransactions Will Return to Star Wars Battlefront II
On the night before the full launch of Star Wars Battlefront II, EA made the decision to remove all microtransactions from the game. This was following a massive outcry regarding randomized loot boxes and pay-to-win mechanics that rewards those who paid real world money. The controversy went far beyond the scope of gamers. It garnered the attention of non-gaming media outlets, government officials, and even had a massive negative impact on EA’s stocks.
The statement made by developer DICE at the time of the removal indicated that microtransactions would return in some form eventually, after they had the opportunity to make changes to the game. “The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we’ve made changes to the game.” This line led many to believe that EA was still looking to monetize the release, and judging by persistent support and plans for all future additional content to be free, it’s hardly surprising to think that they would want to some kind of revenue stream in the game.
At the 37th Nasdaq Investor Conference, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen responded to inquiries about how the company was handling the backlash regarding microtransactions in Battlefront II.
Clearly we are very focused on listening to the consumer and understanding what the consumer wants and that’s evolving constantly. But we’re working on improving the progression system. We turned the microtransactions off as an opportunity to work on the progression system inside the game. We’re continuing to do that. I think there’s an update this week and again next week. Over time we’ll address how we will want to bring the microtransactions either into the game or not and what form we will decide to bring it into.
Jorgensen’s quote supports DICE’s commitment to listen and respond to player feedback, putting positive changes to the game over intent to re-add the microtransactions back in. What’s curious is how Jorgensen says “bring the microtransactions either into the game or not,” which indicates that there is some possibility that EA may decide to cut their losses and leave microtransactions completely out of Battlefront II.
For years, developers have been monetizing cosmetic content in games, with very few console titles crossing the line into offering paid content that actually gives the player an edge–commonly known as pay-to-win. While Jorgensen’s statement doesn’t entirely rule out microtransactions, it does allow for the possibility that EA may not come up with a satisfactory way to reintroduce them. How this would affect the plans for all future content to be free is unknown at this time.
At the same conference, Jorgensen called the whole issue a learning experience, helping them to build great games. Our review notes that Star Wars Battlefront II is a great game, plagued with a poor progression system, something that EA and DICE have been actively trying to fix.