EA’s chief design officer Patrick Söderlund has addressed Star Wars Battlefront 2’s highly controversial implementation of loot boxes, saying that the publisher “got it wrong”, and “can’t afford to make similar mistakes” in the future.
The highly controversial release last year infuriated gamers worldwide essentially making players have to pay to play as there favorite characters from the franchise on top of the purchase costs of the AAA title. This absurd attempt at trying to get more money out of gamers resulted in a dramatic loss of sales and the company’s stock value plummeted by an estimated $3 billion.
This also raised eyebrows in the legal sector, causing speculation over whether it was a form of gambling and various trials where held. An example of a fine being given to a South Korean company can be found here
Söderlund’s comments came during a conversation with The Verge, in which he offered some insight into the company’s original thinking behind Battlefront 2’s loot boxes. “We had the intent that was designed for us to have more people play it over a longer period of time,” Söderlund explained, “and like a lot of other games on the market, to be able to afford to do that we had an idea of getting returns from that. But at the same time, we got it wrong.”
He went on to say, “We can shy away from it and pretend like it didn’t happen, or we can act responsibly and realize that we made some mistakes, and try to rectify those mistakes and learn from them.”
To that end, Söderlund says that EA has “taken significant steps as a company to review and understand the mechanics around monetization, loot boxes, and other things in our games before they go to market. For games that come next, for Battlefield or for Anthem, players have made it very clear that we can’t afford to make similar mistakes. And we won’t.”
During the call, EA boss Andrew Wilson described the response to Battlefront 2’s microtransactions as “definitely a learning opportunity”, insisting that the publisher “never intended to build an experience that could be seen as unfair or lacking clear progression”.
EA did disable the microtransactions shortly after launch due to the sustained criticism, however they only recently scrapped the whole idea and only finally implemented a new progression last month.
Too little too late EA?