After an executive reshuffle, EA’s new chief designer has vowed to not repeat anything like the Battlefront II controversy.
Battlefront II has probably been marred with the biggest controversy in the recent times. EA’s much awaited game had many legendary characters like Darth Vader locked behind a paywall. To unlock them, you either had to grind for hours, or pay real currency. All this in a game worth $60. EA’s comment on a thread on Reddit which complained about this got the maximum number of downvotes in history. The Battlefront II controversy also caused EA’s stocks to plummet.
This controversy was so big, that in countries like the US, UK, and Belgium, politicians rallied to classify the loot boxes as gambling. Now, after an executive reshuffle, EA’s new chief of design Patrick Söderlund has vowed to “learn from” their past mistakes. In an interview with The Verge, he said, “we have 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.”
On why the included the loot boxes in the first place, he said, “we had the intent that was designed for us to have more people play it over a longer period of time.” Clearly, that backfired in the worst possible way.
After the controversy, EA immediately removed the paid crystals had a much better progression system was put in place. It was based on experience points gained while playing multiplayer. But the premium crystals will be returning again. Although this time, they will only be used to buy cosmetic skins.