EA CEO Addresses Loot Crates And Pay-To-Win Concerns

"Balance and fairness inside of gameplay is very important to our community."

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Now Playing: GS News Update: EA Changes Star Wars Battlefront 2 Crates After Beta Concerns

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One of the most resounding pieces of feedback about Star Wars: Battlefront II's beta was around the game's implementation of loot boxes. Some voiced concerns about being able to spend money to acquire higher level items that would give them an advantage on the battlefield. EA quickly responded to this feedback and just today outlined its plans for how it plans to keep Battlefront II from becoming a pay-to-win experience.

And during an earnings call today, EA CEO Andrew Wilson responded further about loot boxes and pay-to-win. He started off by saying the feedback around Battlefront II generally--about its campaign, multiplayer, and more--is "very, very positive." People voiced their feedback about loot boxes, and Wilson pledged that EA is listening and will adjust the experience as needed to do what it can to ensure a balance playing field. He also pointed out that Battlefront II is not the only game dealing with loot box controversy.

"There was the conversation around loot boxes, which is not a Star Wars: Battlefront II-specific conversation but more one that the industry is having with players across the global community," he explained. "And we are engaged in that conversation, engaging with our players on a daily basis as we think about that."

One element of the issue is the idea of value, Wilson said. "In a world where a player pays $60 for a game, will there also be value in the ongoing digital ecosystem that comes for many years?" Wilson said.

No Caption Provided

A big change from the 2015 Battlefront reboot is that the sequel has much more content (three times as much, EA says), and it won't be locked behind a season pass--because Battlefront II's DLC will be free. Wilson said EA feels "very good about overall value proposition" for Battlefront II, and this includes the microtransaction system that EA is expecting will make up the lack of revenue from a season pass.

Instead of a season pass, Battlefront II will make extra money from "event-driven live services," Wilson said. One part of this is content from Star Wars: The Last Jedi coming to Battlefront II this holiday around the time the new movie comes out.

He pointed out that almost everything that you can spend money to acquire in Battlefront II can also be unlocked through normal gameplay, so the microtransactions are a way for players to speed up their progress.

Avoiding a pay-to-win situation is important for EA. "Balance and fairness inside of gameplay is very important to our community and it's very important to us as a benchmark to which DICE builds games," Wilson said.

He added that EA is constantly thinking about things like what you can earn versus what you can buy and how to manage progression through that process. EA has already announced changes to the loot box system following the beta, and Wilson said EA plans to have a "daily dialogue" with fans "for many years to come."

The game's microtransactions are a way for players to "enhance and extend" their experience with Battlefront II, but you don't need to spend money to enjoy the game, Wilson said. "What we've got with a core base game that's three times the size, what would have been previously gated behind season passes is now free for all users with a focus on keeping the community together," he explained.

Star Wars Battlefront II releases for PC, PS4, and Xbox One on November 17. For more on the shoot sequel, you can check out the game's launch trailer here.

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H20-XCV

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Cannot wait to purchase the loot crates and own all on the servers. All the poor peasants living off mommy and daddy will be schooled. This is the new way for online gaming. Deal with it!

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Millionsedge

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If you purchase these items you are voting for this to continue with your wallet. Stand up to this garbage, don't buy in game items.

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H20-XCV

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All I read in the comments section is a bunch of poor peasants that can't afford in game purchases. Play the game normally and get the items or pony up some extra money to speed up the items, leveling etc. and stop crying.

Check! now move out!

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EdwardNygma

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@h20-xcv: It's not about that. I guarantee I make more money than you but I am not a sucker. It is about not being ripped off by a company.

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H20-XCV

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@edwardnygma: You have no idea what riches I have and I have no idea what riches you have, but I would guess that your probably just another poor peasant trying to hang with the big dogs. That's ok I own you, now move out! Check!

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EdwardNygma

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@h20-xcv: That is the most bizarre, sad way to end a post I have ever seen.

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lion2447

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@h20-xcv: It's not the expense that is the problem, it's the mind games companies are playing to get you to part with more of your money without having to put much effort into it. Throwing a bunch of random items into a loot box and charging for them costs the company very little because the item was already created for use in the game. Also, artificially making those said items harder to get in-game compels more people to simply buy the items.

I don't mind spending extra money for items or leveling to speed up a game, I don't have tons of time to play games, but I don't like being taken advantage of to further get me to spend even more and not get a return of value on what I spent. Even worse is when I spend money to speed up progress in a game only to have the game developer "re-balance" the game potentially nerfing the advantages that were paid for. I don't know of too many examples of this happening but paying for levels certainly can have this happen and quickly devalue what was just paid for.

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Barighm

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Edited By Barighm

@h20-xcv: If that is what you read, then I'm not surprised you're unable to discern the overall impact this sort of design philosophy has on the industry.

This isn't about the pocket change I or anyone else has to throw at video games. This is about publishers finding a way to cut corners to the point where they're essentially releasing shit and being rewarded for their efforts. The problem is they finally found a way to get away with it. In the past, the same games we call "great" today would be ridiculed to death. Now every publisher is jumping on the bandwagon and we get overpriced shit. Heck, even the good games aren't immune. They release with their endings missing or something.

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eggs_benedict

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i think OW does the lootbox system the best. why not just copy them? non-essential aesthetic items. people can pay if they want more boxes or keep playing for XP to unlock them. blizzard continues to add game modes, maps, characters, and ongoing balance/bug support.

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Barighm

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Edited By Barighm

@eggs_benedict: You're right, I'm fine with that, but clearly such a system isn't nearly so addictive or profitable as a system with proper and meaningful loot.

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eggs_benedict

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@eggs_benedict: i also wanted to add the emotes and victory poses (i'm assuming taking inspiration from OW) were horrible. barely any distinction between one victory pose from another

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UziKill

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Edited By UziKill

If you can accelerate your progress by buying stuff it is still Pay 2 Win. I'd rather pay for a DLC expansion (worth the price of course) and choose to expand my experience or not rather than having these shit microtransactions that will accelerate the progress of my competition.

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lionheartssj1

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You can get everything in game too....if you play for 8hrs a day the next 6 years.

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EdwardNygma

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@lionheartssj1: LOL

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CrouchingWeasel

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They lie & say that they'll listen but at the end of the day they're just another soulless, piece of shit company growing fat off the profits made from the idiot gamers who'll just keep buying every loot-box, microtransaction filled game that garbage peddlers like EAWare, Ubisoft & WB Games keep churning out. They'll keep doing it regardless of how much shit they cop & they'll keep doing it because a fool & his money are easily parted, the gaming world is absolutely full of idiots who'll keep throwing their money at the next shiny thing that comes along.

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alucardswrath

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Of course the questions that everyone wants answered is never asked, only so basic safe questions like usual.

How about asking how slow will the grind be compared to instantly getting the advantage when paying. (pay 2 win).

How about asking what will happen to dice when this game fails like the first one, because of their greedy decision.

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PlaystationZone

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Ya I hope close down EA Games and also I hope Star Wars battlefront 2 don’t sale . EA Games don’t care about there fans.

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H20-XCV

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@playstationzone: You're poor

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Vojtass

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Interesting, there was no journalist who would ask this suit some uncomfortable questions. As usual.

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EdwardNygma

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@Vojtass: They are spineless.

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wexorian

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Edited By wexorian

And He forgot to say that TO UNLOCK thing you need you need to grind your ass off, while someone who pay for boxes will get more crafting MATERIALS than player who plays, so it's Pay 2 win STILL.

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PJ80

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You don’t get anything for free, like they said they feel the loot boxes will make up for them giving the dlc away for free and making a complete game this time around. They should have made a complete game because that’s what a company should do, charge for the dlc and have no loot boxes.

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LTJohnnyRico

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They should have just stuck with a season pass ! this Loot box nonsense is never going to go down well !

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H20-XCV

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@ltjohnnyrico: bot

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LTJohnnyRico

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@h20-xcv: OK ... eat those loot crates up champ !

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R4gn4r0k

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R4gn4r0k  Online

Oh there will be a day when they'll make us regret ever speaking out against Season Passes.

Sure, Battlefront II may not have a season pass, it has something far, far worse.

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lion2447

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"He pointed out that almost everything that you can spend money to acquire in Battlefront II can also be unlocked through normal gameplay..."

He forgot to mention that in order to do, the progress is made so slow and tedious that most people will give in. Unlocking anything through normal gameplay is not the same as in past games. It is designed to wear the player down into spending to end the tedium.

"People voiced their feedback about loot boxes..."

I hope even louder or this new money making scheme will start showing up in many more games. Loot boxes are a way to get even more money out of the player by NOT giving they player what they want. Simply buying what the player wants means only one transaction, but randomizing what the player get guarantees two or more transactions. Also, when the player finally gets what they want, there is a sense of satisfaction because it makes the player feel like they've worked for it and suddenly self justify the cost of getting what they want. This is all done to manipulate the players into paying more for an item than it is worth.

I get that games cost far more money to produce than they have in the past, but this is a very shady way of recouping the cost.

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ort9404

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@lion2447: I'm sorry but how do you know regular progress will be slow and tedious? shouldnt you wait until reviews for that?

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Thanatos2k

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Good lord everything he says is a lie. Oh all the feedback was so positive, no one had a single bad thing to say about the game!

Yeah, they said the same thing about the last game too, which was awful.

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ort9404

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@Thanatos2k: uhm, that aint true. All throughout developers have been talking about what people said it's wrong with the beta.

They kept saying things like "you though the flame troopers was too weak? we buffed him, you think the specialist ability was too strong? we nerfed it, you think the squad mechanics don't work? we are fixing them"

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R4gn4r0k

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R4gn4r0k  Online

@Thanatos2k: But other games have lootboxes too :'(

He said

It's an industry problem, he said


Yeah, but no other game had it's complete and entire progression locked behind such a shitty and incomprehensible system. That is designed to milk as much money from a Star Wars fan as possible.

Good to know these higher ups are as disconnected as ever, saying the problem is not their game... it's an industry problem. SMH :/

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ort9404

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@R4gn4r0k: clearly you didn't read, there weapons, weapon mods and abilities that are clearly outside the crates and the cards work in tandem with a rank system. So it's not an entire system based on luck

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DudeBroPartyYo

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The dialogue from SANE fans to the industry has been clear for years now....GET RID OF MICTRO TRANSACTIONS that enhance game play in any possible way. Im not so concerned with micro transaction that sell like outfits that are just for visual effect and dont help the player progress in any way

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Lach0121

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@dudebropartyyo: This, they can keep the micro-transactions in the game. Just make them vanity items. (skins/outfits/color packs) but nothing that gives an advantage in game play.

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Richardthe3rd

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Richardthe3rd  Online

"EA is listening and will adjust the experience as needed to"

WAIT FOR IT....

" do what it can"

LMAOBBQ

YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU WANT WITH IT. WTF is this shit? Is there some sort of hostage situation going on at EA that we aren't aware of?

COSMETICS ONLY. END OF DISCUSSION.

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H20-XCV

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@Richardthe3rd: You're a poor peasant and jealous you don't have money to spend in game. I'm rich so I will be buying a ton of the in game loot boxes while your getting owned in the game. Move out peasant!

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Richardthe3rd

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Edited By Richardthe3rd  Online

@H20-xcv: Poor peasants are too stupid to worry about spending their time and money on shit exploitative games like this.

Enjoy your cold porridge bitch.

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jedikv

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@7tizz: To be fair the inflation issue doesn't happen in a vaccum - given average wages haven't kept up with inflation, raising the prices would actually mean it costs more in relative terms.

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drysprocket

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This is a prime example of: too little, too late.

Rot in hell EA. Only suckers are gonna buy this now.

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Pyrosa

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@drysprocket: Nah; I've bought it, and I'll play it... Probably quite a bit, actually -- with friends. But none of us are into buying MT currency. We just like to hang out, chat, laugh, and shoot stuff. The base game is fine for that.

Even Fortnite was has been really good for that... $40 for 100+ hours of CoOp gaming, LONG before it will ever be "free."

MTs are what you make of them (or don't).

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ThomasN7

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Companies like EA that do this kind of thing just care about profit and less about integrity of the game for players. If they really cared they never would have done loot crates in the first place. Gaming is not what is was years ago. It is all about profit and less about the player.

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wexorian

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@7tizz: It was always about profit but Buyers were getting quality and both sides were happy , now we don't get anything and devs get money only OPEN your damn eyes.

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lion2447

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@7tizz: It is about profit, but the way companies are moving is not an equal share of value anymore. What you get for what you pay is not the same as earlier games. These new systems are designed to get maximum profit with minimum value returned to the player. But not so little as to put off the player permanently. This means that mind games are being played to encourage spending more.

With loot boxes, they are inherently random meaning you will most likely have to spend more than once (based on wanting a single item) to get what you want. You will eventually get what you want, but at the same time spend more than simply buying it outright.

Using the excuse of everything being available in-game without spending anything also plays into spending more. If it was easy to get what you want by playing the game, you would not spend any extra. Your time has value and that is factored in by making it just hard enough to acquire any valuable items. The developers of these methods know many people will value their time over the cost of many items and buy instead. Throw that into a randomizer and further increase the chance of additional profit.

Taking into account what ThomasN7 mentioned about gaming not being what it was years ago forgets that the technology was not available to do this years ago. Consoles specifically did not connect to the Internet to be able to do this.

Taking into account what you say about gaming has always been about profit and combine that with the fact that there is technology now available to generate more profit means gaming is heading down an unknown path that does not favour the player. I believe what we see in gaming right now is the early days of testing various methods to maximize profit.

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skippert

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Edited By skippert

@lion2447: I wouldnt go as far as to say that we get less value out of our games as say 10 to 15 years ago. Most AAA titles these days give you a lot more to do than games did in the N64/PS2 era. Still Im not a fan of some of the money making mechanics that have been introduced in the last 5 years or so. But we definatly get a lot more value for our cash than we used to.

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lion2447

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@skippert: You're correct in that we get value from the base game. However, I'm referring more to the underhanded tactics that are being used to get more money out of gamers. This is where the value changes. In the early days of DLC, you would get additional content such as new stories, new maps, etc. This generated a nice amount of value while still providing the gamer with something substantial. It dropped from there to new costumes, to new voices, to new characters. These are less value to the gamer, but again, seems fine to me as the gamer knows what they are getting and generates a nice amount of profit for the game company.

The new avenue being field tested is not valuable to the gamer, but very valuable to the company. That would be loot boxes and randomizers that can cost real money. Even worse, is you could spend real money on these boxes and end up with the same stuff. So now the gamer has effectively paid double on the item. If the game companies mitigated this by not allowing duplicates, it wouldn't be so bad. Also, if real money was not involved then I wouldn't even be concerned.

The article below is where I get some of my information. What scares me the most is not the short term effect, but more the long term of conditioning gamers that this is a normal part of playing games. The more normalized it becomes the more it will be part of a larger segment of games.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5031247/Are-video-game-loot-boxes-encouraging-children-gamble.html

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@lion2447: I get what you are saying that the value is different now and what you get for what you pay for is different .. but is still weighted towards the Gamer .. Lets say I pay $60 for Battlefront .. I can pretty much expect it to look great, have a SP element that lasts 6-8 hours and have a MP element that will keep me going for hundreds of hours (I love a MP shooter). Lets say in 1990 I bough at a Game for $50 (which is like $95 dollars in todays money) I wouldn't get much if any MP experience and the SP element would probably last 6 hours at a push - also the Games back then whilst pretty fun .. they weren't as detailed and involved as some of the games today ! Our problem is we demand more and more from Devs and tell them we want this and we want that .. but we don't seem prepared to pay for it ! And agree that what we are seeing now are companies trying to maximize revenue in light of the fact that they are not charging $95 for full games ! I would much prefer all games to include everything and them charge $95-$100 a go .. but how many of us would have something to say about that also?

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lion2447

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@ltjohnnyrico: I'm not referring that you aren't getting value out of a game, especially now with games feeling much bigger than earlier generations. I'm more referring to the latest money generating schemes that are destroying value of games.

Making a game feel half finished and then offering up DLC to make the game more complete feels a little underhanded, however the gamer knows what they are buying when they buy the DLC. Introducing loot boxes and randomizing them, takes the value away because the gamer doesn't know what they are paying for and cannot change their mind if they don't like what they get. What's worse is paying money and receiving a duplicate item. The gamer has now just paid double for the same item. Something that cannot happen with standard DLC.

I also don't mind standard DLC, because it allows a game to stay cheaper, which means if I don't like the game I may be out only $50. If I like the game I'm happy to spend the other $50 (referencing you mentioning games up to $100) and feel like I have got my moneys worth. Some companies have got this process down perfectly and definitely give value to the gamer. I don't want to sound pessimistic blaming the whole of the industry because there are many good companies that give plenty of value to gamers.

It's the companies that have gone the way of extreme greed that have taking value away. One example is GTA5. This game has made billions of dollars of profit on the game, but the company has decided not to produce any single player DLC content because multiplayer is too profitable. For the amount of money they have made, it should not be that hard to create single player content. They could give it out for free and barely make a dent in their profit. I believe they have generated nearly 10 fold the cost of making the game. Why this annoys me is because the company originally talked about some of the single player DLC only to scrap it in the pursuit of profit. Should loot boxes or similar money generating ideas become successful, how long before other games only use these methods and start scrapping game content even if they are generating plenty of profit. Simply put, why spend when you don't have to?

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