Electronic Arts have lost $3 billion in stock value after the microtransaction loot box system was discovered to create a pay-to-win situation in Star Wars Battlefront 2. Many fans were critical of the system and EA pulled loot boxes from the game before the official launch.  After news programs and governments around the world began to notice, EA received mass criticisms from many audiences.  The Belgian Gaming Commission waded in, as did Hawaii State Representative Chris Lee, who publicly denounced EA‘s game as “a Star Wars-themed online casino designed to lure kids into spending money”.

Despite this, EA decided to double down on keeping MTX (Microtransaction). EA‘s Chief Finance officer, Blake Jorgensen said “”We’re not giving up on the notion of MTX [microtransactions].” Whether they will continue to use the loot box feature in the future is still a debate for EA. Many fans protested the game because players could earn Star Cards that buffed the characters which created an imbalance in multiplayer. You could also not predict what you would obtain in a loot crate which some government leaders considered similar to gambling. To earn enough currency to purchase certain characters or features required substantial game time or you could bypass with real currency.

Jorgensen said that EA was focusing on improving the beta over the MTX and wasn’t aware how the public would react. The statement is quite outlandish considering many of the gaming community has shunned the loot box system; including for popular games that use them such as Overwatch. He also stated that certain players have more money than other while others have more time. EA worked to create a balance between the two to create a value system that would appeal to both. That is usually a fine method if there wasn’t boost in the game that would make you stronger than other players.

“For us it’s a great learning experience. We are trying to run the company with an ear to the consumer at all times, not only in the testing phase but when the game is up and running” said Jorgensen. EA, a gaming company which is older than 30 years, is still trying to understand their modern audience. It is unacceptable and an excuse that nobody who understands the modern game market would believe.

Supposedly, LucasArts is extremely focused on Star Wars Battlefront 2 following the canon according to Jorgensen. “There might be things we can do cosmetically, and we’re working with Lucas on that, but coming into it, it wasn’t as easy as if we were building a game around our own IP where it didn’t really matter. It matters in Star Wars, because Star Wars fans want realism. But Star Wars fans also may want to tailor things: different colour Lightsabers, things like that, so you may see something like that.” This would make EA look better if the skins were added to the game but it has been shown on Uninspired Zebra’s YouTube channel that there is a menu for customizing skins. Also, the previous game had skins! So EA is trying to manipulate the narrative by trying to tell people that they are making changes to Star Wars Battlefront 2 when they should already understand the backlash from their audience over microtransaction and what is the modern method most multiplayer use MTX. It is embarrassing for the company and mostly the developers who put in so much effort to make Star Wars Battlefront 2 a good game.

Sources:

Eurogamer

Polygon

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