We’re well aware that Electronic Arts has been in hot water over the past few weeks over its “loot box” decisions in Star Wars: Battlefront II, even though it did stop the system altogether for the time being, right before the game’s release.
But Microtransactions for the game could’ve been a lot more interesting, as the company was considering a cosmetic model for the game, with bonus skins for particular characters. However, it stopped short of making it happen, recognizing the faithfulness to the Star Wars universe.
Speaking at the Credit Suissse 21st Annual Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen brought up the possibility of cosmetic DLC within the game, stating that it was something that Star Wars fans probably wouldn’t want in the long run, according to GamesIndustry International.
"The one thing we're very focused on and they're extremely focused on is not violating the canon of Star Wars," Jorgensen said. "It's an amazing brand that's been built over many, many years. So if you did a bunch of cosmetic things, you might start to violate the canon. Darth Vader in white probably doesn't make sense, versus in black. Not to mention you probably don't want Darth Vader in pink. No offense to pink, but I don't think that's right in the canon."
He also stressed the importance of listening to fans in general, and how the company is taking its time to make sure that whatever changes it makes to the game with its loot boxes is a fair one. "Listening to the consumer when they start playing the game, six months from now, and even six years from now, is very important for us," Jorgensen said. "And I would say if we're not making some mistakes along the way and learning from them, that's when you should worry about us. But our view is these are great opportunities for us to continue to tune the game, to adjust these things.
"We pulled off on the MTX, because the real issue the consumer had was they felt it was a pay-to-win mechanic. The reality is there are different types of players in games. Some people have more time than money, and some people have more money than time. You want to always balance those two."
He didn’t give a time frame as to when these Microtransactions would return, though. "We're not giving up on the notion of MTX," Jorgensen said. "We're learning and listening to the community in terms of how best to roll that out in the future, and there's more to come as we learn more. But I would say we're certainly not changing our strategy. We think the strategy of deeply engaging games, keeping the community together, and allowing people to play those games with new content coming via events over time is critical to the future of our business. We feel like we've nailed that in the sports games, and we'll continue to try and find the best model that works in the non-sports games."
And despite all the negativity, he’s still fond of what DICE and the developers at Criterion and Motive have accomplished. "The great news is this is one of the best games we've ever built," he said. "And we're hearing that from the players who are actually playing the game and engaging in the game. The retention day over day is better than we've seen in almost any of our games. The depth of the gameplay is incredible. The size of the game is incredible. And we'll be adding in the next couple weeks, more content than we've ever added in a game before."