The company behind the new Star Wars video game has turned off a money-spinning part of it after an outcry from angry fans and scrutiny from regulators.
The loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront II couldn't contain cosmetic items because EA didn't want to mess with Star Wars' established fiction, the publisher says.
Fast forward to today at the Credit Suisse Annual Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, where EA chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen was asked why the game's loot crates couldn't just contain cosmetic items, as those in games like Team Fortress 2, CS: GO, and Overwatch do. "I think EA got ahead of itself in presuming that MTX would work equally well in all games".
"The one thing we're very focused on - and [Lucasfilm is] extremely focused on - is not violating the canon of Star Wars".
"We've heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages", Gabrielson said.
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"A player's ability to succeed in the game is not dependent on purchasing [loot boxes]", it said in a statement. So if you did a bunch of cosmetic things, you might start to violate the canon.
The best feeling in the world is that of Schadenfreude when you see a company like Electronic Arts suffering. The decision to ignore enjoyable progression in favor of profits is hurting EA's stock price, and the story became large enough that it might have hurt the value of Star Wars itself as an IP.
The idea is that players pay real money to unlock a virtual "loot box" without knowing what kind of reward is inside. "If we're not making some mistakes along the way, that's when you should worry about it". "Some people have more time than money and some people have more money than time and you always want to balance those two".
Jorgensen concluded by assuring that despite the few issues encountered, the game remains one of the best they have ever done. While the company hasn't publicly confirmed if its coming to the second game, developer DICE acknowledged fan desire for it, saying, "It's on our list of things we're looking at daily. stay tuned". The feature - which would let players gain access to late-game weapons early on, leading to huge imbalance between paying players and standard players - was originally announced around the time of the game's beta testing phase, and the controversy reached a boiling point shortly before the game's official launch, leading to EA hastily removing the feature from the game. "The retention day over day is better than we've seen in nearly any of our games, the depth of the game is incredible, the size of the game unbelievable, and we'll be adding in the next couple of weeks more content than we've ever added in a game before".