EA seems to have had an incredible moment of self-awareness, admitting that “it’s clear to us that players see the company differently than we do.” I think that probably deserves the slowest of claps.
These are the words of EA executive Patrick Söderlund, who’s seemingly woken up, looked in the mirror, and finally realised that Star Wars Battlefront 2 was an atrocious mess that should never be repeated. On that front, it looks like he’s got it covered. Speaking to The Verge, Söderlund said “I’d be lying to you if I said that what’s happened with Battlefront and what’s happened with everything surrounding loot boxes and these things haven’t had an effect on EA as a company and an effect on us as management,” he says.
Tellingly, he goes on to say EA has two options - pretend it never happened and continue as normal, or fix the mistakes and learn from their for future EA titles. On that front, Söderlund says “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.”
Breaking down just why Star Wars Battlefront 2 proved so controversial in the first place, he explains that the aim was always to get people playing the game for a longer period of time, and therefore spending more money, through the inclusion of loot boxes. Unfortunately, these loot boxes were incredibly poorly implemented, offering genuine competitive bonuses versus other players in exchange for cash. Improving the turning speed on your X-Wing is, on a base level, not overly far removed from drugging a horse so it loses a race, or pumping yourself full of steroids before the Tour de France. It’s not a level playing field and this doesn’t suit competition, where it would quickly separate the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 has since had its progression system totally revamped, with a new patch arriving tomorrow aimed at re-introducing micro-transactions but purely to cosmetic items. “People seem to appreciate what we’ve done, players are coming back, and we’re seeing stronger engagement numbers,” said Söderlund.
From the sounds of it, EA believes it’s now found a successful template for Star Wars Battlefront 2 that it’s now hoping to roll out for its next wave of titles. For EA’s sake we hope it’s found a decent middle ground for Battlefield V, or we could have a bloodbath on our hands.
Source: The Verge