Last year gamers were up in arms about Star Wars Battlefront II. Basically, EA had hardwired lootbox progression into the games system – this essentially allowed those with extra cash to pay to jump ahead in the game while everyone else had to put in a ridiculous amount of hours in order to reach the same position as the paying players. It hit EA hard, stock prices fell and gamers boycotted the modern take on their beloved franchise.
Speaking to The Verge, EA’s Chief Studios Officer Patrick Söderlund noted that the team will not make the same mistakes with Battlefront II when it comes to Anthem.
‘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. We can shy away from it and pretend like it didn’t happen, or we can act responsibly and realize that we made some mistakes, and try to rectify those mistakes and learn from them.’
‘We had the intent that was designed for us to have more people play it over a longer period of time. And like a lot of other games on the market, to be able to afford to do that we had an idea of getting returns from that. But at the same time, we got it wrong. And as a result, we had to take very quick and drastic actions to turn everything off, and we’ve since worked and redesigned the progression system. People seem to appreciate what we’ve done, players are coming back, and we’re seeing stronger engagement numbers. People seem to think that for the most part, we got it right. It doesn’t mean we will stop. We’ll continue to improve the game, we’ll continue to push on these things, and we’ll have to be very cautious with what this means for future products.’
Söderlund continued stating that the company is reviewing the mechanics monetization.
‘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 made it very clear that we can’t afford to make similar mistakes. And we won’t.’
‘It’s clear to us that players see the company differently than we do. And in that situation, as a member of the executive team, as the guy who runs all of the studios, I have to take that seriously. And we have to continue to listen and understand what’s triggering that. We have to be very cautious of what we do.’
‘We have to take action and show people that we’re serious about building the best possible products, that we’re serious about treating the players fair, and we’re here to make the best possible entertainment that we can. And in the cases where we don’t get it right, we just have to listen and learn from it and be better.’
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