Star Wars Battlefront 2 Microtransactions May Not Return, EA Admits

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DICE has responded to criticism of loot crates in Star Wars Battlefront 2
DICE has responded to criticism of loot crates in Star Wars Battlefront 2 EA

Star Wars Battlefront 2 sparked outrage among the gaming community with its pay-to-win progression scheme. Now, facing strong government scrutiny, it appears the game’s crystal-based microtransactions may never return.

The statement, recorded by Glixel, came from EA CFO Blake Jorgensen during Tuesday’s Nasdaq Investor Conference. Speaking about the backlash EA has faced regarding payment incentives in Battlefront 2, Jorgensen said:

“Clearly we are very focused on listening to the consumer and understanding what the consumer wants and that's evolving constantly. But we're working on improving the progression system. We turned the MTX off as an opportunity to work on the progression system inside the game. We're continuing to do that. I think there's an update this week and again next week.

"Over time we'll address how we will want to bring the MTX either into the game or not and what form we will decide to bring it into."

The last sentence is the most intriguing, as it implies EA is unsure if microtransactions will ever return to the game. That directly contradicts claims made by DICE General Manager Oskar Gabrielson on the eve of release. “The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we’ve made changes to the game,” he said in a blog post last month.

But the situation with Battlefront 2 has escalated substantially since then, and it’s clear the loot crate rebellion has made waves amongst consumers, investors and global government agencies alike. The game’s post-launch sales in the U.K. were 60 percent lower than its 2015 predecessor, and EA has since lost $3 billion in stock value. Government probes from Belgium to Hawaii have the potential to forever change how publishers large and small monetize their expensive software. In many ways, this is a three-pronged attack quite unlike anything the industry has ever seen.

Gabrielson’s blog post came days before any of these assaults truly took hold, and now that it seems there’s no possible way in which EA can emerge from this mess unscathed, it’s possible microtransactions could be removed altogether.

That could be a positive sign for anyone rallying against advanced payment schemes in $60 games, but as we’ve seen in recent weeks, it’s only one part of Battlefront 2’s larger problem. In addition to pay-to-win elements, it’s impossible to ignore the randomized progression spurred on by invasive use of loot crates. Credit and crating part yields have increased over the past few days, but infusing randomness into weapon and ability unlocks still doesn’t make for a fun experience.

Perhaps the larger question is what might happen to Battlefront 2’s free DLC plans if EA permanently removes microtransactions. With no constant revenue stream to recoup development costs, will EA introduce a season pass instead? Will its planned content roadmap be significantly shortened? With new single-player content and heroes planned to arrive next week, only time will tell.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Will you play Battlefront 2 if microtransactions are removed? Is this show of goodwill too little too late? Tell us in the comments section!

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