The various loot box models for publishers remains a hot topic amongst fans and critics. For now, it seems as though the discourse will not soon fade. However, the good news is that things are changing. Decision-makers are listening. Evidence of this manifests in Battlefield V’s forthcoming release and the Take-Two CEO addressing the publisher’s missteps with NBA 2K18. During this year’s Gamelab Barcelona, EA Sports Vice President Daryl Holt shared his thoughts on the matter.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Holt addresses the controversy. He notes that the loot box model governing titles such as Star Wars Battlefront II do not apply to games under the EA Sports umbrella.
“It’s a different play model and that’s the aspect you need to lean into when we talk about player choice as part of our player-first mantra. They’re given the choice on how they want to compete.
I can earn things in FIFA Ultimate Team just by playing the game, at whatever tier I want to play at. I can also beat you if you have a better-rated team because I’m better than you at FIFA. I don’t worry about what my rating is as a team… That aspect of choice and how we engage with EA Sports is a very different aspect with how we look at the controversy that came up around Battlefront.”
Yet, despite the confidence in the EA Sports model’s being “sustainable,” Holt says they are paying attention to discussions surrounding loot boxes. Furthermore, EA Sports is willing to “adapt” and make changes based on the direction in which these talks are going. Players should expect to see this come to fruition this fall, when EA’s annual sports titles release.
“Our model is sustainable. It’s certainly changed us — in the way it always does in terms of anything you hear from a player or from the industry — in how we all react and adapt to it.
“For example the disclosure of pack odds that’s coming to our EA Sports games, so we can see those things and have an understanding around it, and how we communicate and we deal with live service models and how we test things and implement feedback across all of EA.
“But for EA Sports and Ultimate Team, the mode is very popular. It works the way it works and provides the players the choice to play the way they want to play, which i think is valuable as long as we make sure it’s fair and isn’t a detriment to that.”
The necessary changes are being implemented, which seems to ensure loot boxes stick around for the foreseeable future. This is despite governments worldwide debating whether loot box and microtransaction purchases equate to gambling. To that end, Holt doubles down on EA’s stance, “we don’t believe loot boxes are gambling.”
Should entities like the Belgian Gaming Commission rule that the two are one and the same, EA’s position on the matter may not mean much in the long run.
EA Sports Loot Box Model "Sustainable" Says EA Sports VP