EA: We Believe In Microtransactions

After controversy around Star Wars: Battlefront 2, EA says it believes in microtransactions when they are "done right."

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Now Playing: GS News Update: Star Wars: Battlefront 2 Underperforms, Microtransactions Coming Back

You should expect games from Electronic Arts to continue to offer "live service" components and optional microtransactions, the company said today. As part of its latest earnings report, EA CEO Andrew Wilson addressed the controversy surrounding Star Wars: Battlefront II's implementation of microtransactions before doubling down on letting investors know that microtransactions are here to stay.

"Going forward, we believe that live services that include optional digital monetization, when done right, provide a very important element of choice that can extend and enhance the experience in our games," Wilson said. "We're committed to continually working with our players to deliver the right experience in each of our games and live services."

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For Battlefront II specifically, Wilson said the game was "definitely a learning opportunity." EA decided to temporarily remove all microtransactions from the game due in part to the "sentiment and community data coming out of the beta and early trials." Microtransactions are coming back, scheduled to return "in the next few months." However, it remains to be seen how they may be changed. In their original form, players could buy loot boxes that contained game-affecting items with real money.

Just how big are microtransactions in terms of revenue for EA? For the latest quarter, EA's digital net bookings for "live services," which includes optional add-on content, came to $787 million. That represents year-over-year growth of 39 percent. Check out the chart above to get a closer look at the numbers.

Wilson went on to say he's happy that the Battlefront II community is so outspoken, acknowledging that EA did not get it right with how the game used microtransactions.

"We never intended to build an experience that could be seen as unfair or lacking clear progression, so we removed the feature that was taking away from what fans were telling us was an otherwise great game," Wilson said. "We are fortunate to have such passionate players that will tell us when we get it right, and when we don't. We're now working hard on more updates that will meet the needs of our players, and we hope to bring these to the Battlefront II community in the months ahead."

Wilson added that, while Battlefront II's initial shipments failed to reach EA's projections or match the first game's out-of-the-gate sales, the game is still enjoying a lot of success. "Fans spent twice as much time playing Battlefront II over the previous game during the launch quarter," Wilson said, adding that almost 70 percent of Battlefront II players tried the campaign.

He went on to say that "engagement" has been "strong" with Battlefront II's DLC so far. More content drops are coming in the months ahead, and Wilson said he thinks fans will "continue to have fantastic experiences over the long life of Battlefront II."

EA is of course not the only publisher whose games use microtransactions. Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead parent publisher Take-Two has said it wants to have some form of "recurrent consumer spending" in all of its games. Games from publishers like Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, and Nintendo also use microtransactions in some form.

For more on EA's latest earnings report, check out the linked stories below:

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Avatar image for PSYCHOV3N0M

I remember the joy I had in 2007 unlocking the Red Tiger camo for my favorite guns in COD4 and guess what: I didn't have to pay for them.....

To hell with EA & Activision.

Avatar image for lostn

Paying for cosmetics is fine (still a bit greedy when you're charging $60 for it but w/e). Paying for advantages (aka pay 2 win) is not. But even if they "do it right", this game has already poisoned their reputation and it will not go down well even if the MTs are reasonable. It's too late.

Surprised Wilson didn't post this on Reddit where it can break their previously set record of downvotes.

Avatar image for Warlord_Irochi

The problem comes when companies put more effort into designing hidden mechanics (Looking at you, Activision) to pressure people to purchase micro-transactions than into finding a non-exploitative formula that makes appealing to pay for said micro-transactions.
But I guess that when they actually have a lot of people burning money on their abusive system, they have no reason to change that.

Avatar image for alimuzaffarkhan

Micro-transactions.... Sure... Then do not charge us for the base game. Make your games free, and I am ok with it, as long as its not PAY2WIN, which NO-ONE has been able to do it successfully. But like everyone else said, I have not bought EA games in a long time and looks like I won't for some time in the future.

Avatar image for lostn

@alimuzaffarkhan: How about an energy based system where you can play 15 mins a day unless you pay $5? Welcome to mobile.

Avatar image for Warlord_Irochi

@alimuzaffarkhan: "as long as its not PAY2WIN, which NO-ONE has been able to do it successfully"

I think Digital extremes did it successfully with Warframe. Although that game is mostly co-op and solo play and few people play PvP

Avatar image for soliaired50

And we believe that you, EA, have no integrity.

Avatar image for lostn

@soliaired50: And soon, no relevance.

Avatar image for kevo44

I miss Maxis and Pandemic... :(

Avatar image for jamesbr27

And we believe EA will perish if they continue this line of thinking.

The hired Amy Hennig so they could fire her and the entire Visceral Games team. They (EA) dont deserve our sympathy.

Avatar image for Barighm

GS should really do a special segment dedicated specifically to those quality games that are great WITHOUT resorting to MT's, DLC's, and P2W practices, or at least with very little of it. They ARE out there.

Avatar image for camverge

Hmmmmm... EA always sees things as a learning opportunity while their practices tend to show they haven’t learned sh*t. I was once very excited for EA products, but now with so many other people making great content and this continued practice by EA, I have no problem cutting future EA titles out of my collection. Thank you EA for saving me money. To those who don’t mind the stuff EA continues, enjoy... sincerely to each their own. I’m out.

Avatar image for SCImonTemplar

Eff EA

Avatar image for Hagan

No problem on my end EA, I will keep not buying your games. Last game I bought of yours was Titanfall, and before that it was probably the first Xbox era.

Avatar image for lostn

@Hagan: That was clearly a mistake.

Avatar image for proxima1025

Sees title, no $hit Sherlock!

Avatar image for Barighm

Guys, there are games out there that don't have MTs. FIND THEM! PLAY THEM! That is how you make a statement.

Avatar image for hardcoregamer1

EA you can do whatever you want but I will never buy a game from you with loot boxes, and i am sure a lot of gamers feel the same way.

Avatar image for Pupchu

Microtransactions doesnt represent a problem if they're done right. Absolutely, i agree. IF done right... However, doing things right, is an artform EA has yet to master.

Avatar image for Ervaine

@Pupchu: And may never master at this rate .

Avatar image for DarthKingdom

The fact that EA seems to have been genuinely blindsided by how poorly their microtrantastic first attempt at Battlefront was received really speaks to how disconnected from their costumers they actually are.

Also, let's all remember that time when EA told their investors that removing the microtransactions wasn't expected to have any impact on the game's success... They don't NEED them to make the game profitable. They never did. They're just a bunch of greedy pricks.

And has any gamer ever actually said that a game felt BETTER with microtransactions shoved into it? Anybody?

Avatar image for speed45823

I have a confession to make. I have not bought any EA game in a very very long time. It really fills my heart with a sense of price and accomplishment.

Avatar image for joalopes

I've been playing games for more then 30 years seeing this industry grow to what it has become today.
But the path it is taking now is a far cry from what developers used to dream about.

The video games industry is dangerously moving towards the gambling sector.
And a few big companies are dictating the market path.

The excuse is that making games is becoming ever more expensive and more risky. So now the model is selling a normal priced base game and everything else as add-ons.

The production cost of a game like PUBG is far lower then a AAA title like Uncharted. Yet, they are adding microtransacitons into the game as well. So no. Game production cost is not related with the inclusion of microtransactions.

Many justify that the only thing they are selling is cosmetic items.
But that is the exact problem.
Games are now being developed with microtransactions in mind keeping the coolest looking stuff behind a paywall.
This is affecting the fun factor of a game to the point where many of us a starting to ask.
Is this form of entertainment worth it?

It used to be that when you got the best weapon in a game it was also one of the best looking ones. Not a generic looking one with great stats.

And also microtransactions have killed the community creativity.
Modding in games was extremely popular up until microtransactions started to take hold of the market.

Remember the horse armor fiasco in TES Oblivion? https://kotaku.com/never-forget-your-horse-armor-1768813271

Major companies used to not have an issue with modding. In fact they used to embraced it.
Now, few are those that still provide somekind of modding capability.

I mention several things in this post but for me the reason why I now think its time to put the pressure on publishers and threaten them with regulation if they keep on this path is just this:

One of the richest EVE Online players, quite literally kept his organization on top by using real money to do so.

Obviously this gamer is addicted to EVE And just like anyone that goes to a casino he is trying to bring himself a sense of accomplishment by using real money to keep its org on top. And worst, there are people with not that much money also joining the race.

This is wrong in so many levels. It's literally messing up with peoples mental health.

It seems the industry has forgotten one basic reason why it was not regulated for so many decades.
Games used to have one price. No strings attached.
Expansion packs used to be as big as the original game. More then worth the price tag.

Parents did not have to worry about anything else because there was no "buy in game money" button in games.
There were no marketing campaigns about items that don't come with the base game.

Now as an adult gamer, I can honestly state that I WILL not let my children play video games.
If they grow up without playing them they eventually won't care and that means the will have no need to spend real money maintaining a fictional organization on an online game.

Avatar image for smoke_dog_4ever

@joalopes: I wholeheartedly agree. I don't have quite as many years under my belt as you, but I've been gaming going on 25 years. I remember playing Call of Duty 4 ten years ago where if you wanted to have the best and most prestigious camo for your guns (blue or red tiger), you had to legit earn that shit - 75/150 headshots. My proudest moments were unlocking red tiger for the M40A1 and the 50cal because it took hours and hours and hours of playing, and it was a symbol of that achievement to other players in game. Now you look at Counter Strike and the only distinction you have in other player's weapon camo is the money they put into buying it. EA are absolute atrocious. Their business practices are garbage. They're creating a dangerous and damning culture in the video game industry - one that prioritizes piecemeal game content so that the full experience is hidden behind paywalls and "loot boxes", and in the process they're stifling innovation. EA are ruining franchises and companies through their corporate greed. It's a real friggin shame, seeing how franchises like Dead Space, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Battlefield, Battlefront, etc are being turned into microtransaction pissing contests.

Avatar image for girlusocrazy

Very disconcerting coming from the publisher that has given them such a bad name. There isn't really much of a way to do them right the way EA wants it. They're interested in turning paid-for games into ongoing 'revenue streams'

Avatar image for DeadPhoenix86

EA Is too stupid to understand, that "Nobody" Like's Microtransaction !!!
Its basically Pay to win...

Avatar image for Mogan

@DeadPhoenix86: They don't have to be pay to win at all. Look at Overwatch. EA needs to figure out how to monetize their games such that those games are fun whether you buy the microtransactions or not.

Avatar image for altairdarius

We believe in milking a cow. You are cows dear clients/gamers.

Avatar image for magnusopus

Easiest way for that jumped up suite Andrew Wilson to get the point is to just not purchase anything with a ruddy EA icon on it..... But Earth is full of suckers - and they will never learn...

Avatar image for skipper847

Deal with it

Avatar image for jski

That's fine, EA. You keep believing in microtransactions and I'll keep ignoring your products like I have since Mass Effect 3. Hopefully MS buys EA as the rumors are saying, and they can the entire executive staff.

Avatar image for deactivated-5ae060efb3bf6

Sad thing is we the gamers created this. if there was not demand it would go away. Just like all the DLC for games that is made before the game gets released.

Avatar image for girlusocrazy

@Triton: It's been possible to ignore microtransactions and just buy the game and play that. EA considers this "tolerance". But microtransactions continue to find their way into more aspects of the game with each release and the gamers who ignore them find it more annoying to ignore. That's when everyone complains and stops buying the games. But EA takes this as a sign that they need to make them more appealing, instead of letting people who ignore them go on ignoring them. They just can't get the message through their thick skulls.

So yes the solution is probably to stop buying their games even if it's possible to ignore the microtransactions because it will just get worse, and even tweaked with updates to be more and more annoying.

I've bought the games where EA tried to do something for fans, like Mirror's Edge. But apart from that and NFS Rivals, I've stayed away this gen. Their games lack in quality, content, and support, and are abusive with their microtransaction systems.

Avatar image for jski

@Triton Microtransactions are far worse than DLC. DLC is great if it's done right. Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas got DLC right adding almost as much content as the original game over the months after the games release. There's nothing wrong with more of a good thing. Microtransactions are just games being torn apart and progression stifled so they can just keep taking more money from us. You are correct though, this is our fault. That's why I stand by my personal pledge not to buy games from companies that use microtransactions. The thing that sucks is that the list is growing to the point that I'm afraid I'm going to need a new hobby in a year or two. Lousy time to be a gamer.:

Avatar image for smoke_dog_4ever

@jski: Even DLC though is a shadow of its original intention/implementation. It used to be a two or three year old game would get a DLC campaign pack, sometimes even free, just because the devs cared about their fan base. You'd have modders create map packs for games, and sometimes the devs would create free map packs for games simply to support the community. Now you buy a multiplayer game with four or five maps for $60 and every quarter you can expect to pay $15 for a map pack that contains four or five maps instead of including them in the game in the first place - devs are purposefully holding back content for the sake of selling it at a premium later. That's bullshit.

TellTale games are probably the best at this... sell one "episode" for $15 that has an hour or two of content, then sell four or five additional two hour long "episodes" at $15 a piece, and suddenly a complete game you'd of sold for $60 otherwise is turning into $75. It's genius. And really shitty.

Avatar image for altairdarius

@jski: the idea of @Triton is that the game production have already made an DLC but they won't include it to the Standard version of the game. The point is they are aiming to get that 10-20 USD plus from the standard game now sold. They are using DLCs in a wrong way now. I usually wait for GOTY editions but damn that means playing the game after a year of its release. In any case fallout new vegas has created dlcs after the main game was introduced. To decide to create a dlc should come from the gamer that continuous playing it after a while which means a need of additional content. They do dlcs and games in the same time. Hell, they announce it after two month or maybe earlier of its release. That's not for us that's for them.

Avatar image for girlusocrazy

@altairdarius: Yup look up "project ten dollar"

It's just taking on different forms and mutating. They want your money one way or another. But they hope in all ways.

Avatar image for xxmavr1kxx

@altairdarius: I could see some shady developers cutting content from the main game to release a couple months later as "DLC", but its stupid to think all Developers do that. Yes they announce DLC early but in some cases its just a road map on what they plan on Doing.

A perfect example of this is Witcher 3. They had a couple DLC expansions, and there was no way they were done before the game released.

Avatar image for altairdarius

@xxmavr1kxx: CD Projekt Red announced that there are going to be dlcs but esthetics and there are all free. The expansions were made waaaay later and were all good to pay for because they were several hours long and very good contents. Companies like EA doesn't earn respect from gamers like the CD Projekt does. But we are talking bullshits here because either way Battlefront 2 is selling a lot and for consolidated staes like usa, japan, Australia, Germany, etc a 20 USD per months on microtransactions is nothing. Hell, I didn't even buy esthetics on Rocket League that costs just 1,29 USD or something

Avatar image for lonewolf1044

Capitalism can be an b+tch sometimes but that is what the US is. Companies basically can present whatever business model they want and customers can also choose to invest in that business model. EA can present microtransactions in thier games but I choose not to support any transactions that may be distasteful or give an advantage to another player that partakes in MP. I careless about SP because I am not affected by that. The writing was on the wall when the internet had came into existence publicly and evolved. I do believe EA is greedy but that is thier choice and is the not the EA of old. Sadly, EA is not the only company that uses these business models. The only way we win is if we fight with our wallets and not buy these business models and if you are against it. If you like these business models I do not condemn anyone because it is what floats your boat and have fun with it if you can.

Avatar image for jski

@lonewolf1044 That isn't entirely true. Business, like all aspects of life, is regulated and if EA wants to include practices that are considered gambling, then they will be treated as such and there are strict rules that apply to that and gambling addiction is a real thing that has to be dealt with. The idea that a business can just do whatever it wants is false and no economy could work under such circumstances. Doing whatever floats your boat is not a realistic world view. Nobody acts without consequences to other people. It simply isn't possible. Also, I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone that "likes" these business models. I think people just tolerate them because they want to play the games too badly, or they simply don't understand or care about the issue. They just want to spend 60 bucks and shoot things in a Star Wars game. When they find their ability to do that enjoyably is hidden behind a pay wall that could cost them a ton of money, my guess is none of them like that.:

Avatar image for xxmavr1kxx

@jski: I am not sure what you are saying about Businesses. @lonewolf1044 said a company can present any business model it wants, which is true. He didnt say they can do whatever they want. There is a difference. And he is also correct in saying its a customers choice if they want to accept that model. That is Capitalism. And if your business model is trash, or you charge to much, or whatever causes a bad taste in the consumers mouth enough for a majority not to buy it, that business will fail.

I have also seen people that like some of the MT business models. I have seen people who enjoy MP games online, but dont have the time to put in to receive to tier items. If the option is presented for them to purchase those items with IRL money instead of investing the time to acquire them naturally, they prefer to purchase them.

Avatar image for MMX377

EA believe in illegal microtransactions and gambling.

Avatar image for itchyflop

@MMX377: If its illegal the game wouldn't have them, its not gambling, its a clever way to gain more money from you.

They employ people to do this and to get more from their product, and MT's are one way of doing it, a bit like supermarkets who employ teams of people to watch what you spend and what on then send you money off vouchers to get you in-store, which they've recently moved goods around so whilst your looking for your favourite item you are viewing something else in its original place and think oh i fancy one of those, spending more money.

Avatar image for MMX377

@itchyflop: You must be a shill. The defender of EA. If you want that, then be my guest. Send your money to buy something from the mircotransaction, just like gambling. Then you lose your money when you don't get what you want.

Go ahead. I don't care. Do as you please. Someday you may be regret for that.

Avatar image for itchyflop

@MMX377: aha really? and you have no knowledge of law!!!

A shill, thats imaginative ill grant you that!

I dont buy MT's so how am i gambling or sending money? Hell i didn't buy SWBF2???

Have you never bought another EA game then or COD or BF (you know which also contain MT's to use as a couple of examples)?

Iv been buying them since they started!!

Gambling is you spending money with the POSSIBILITY of getting nothing, with MT's you always get something.

If people are STUPID enough to do so thats THEIR fault NOT EA'S, they have a right to place what ever they want in their products (legally).

You have a CHOICE, DONT BUY THEM, DO BUY THEM. No ones forcing you to. Just because you dont like it, doesn't mean its going to change, have you not noticed any other games with them in, you know......for years now, this isn't a new concept, its tarnished EA's rep no doubt but hey they're big enough to bounce back like Microsoft did with the red ring (off topic).

If people read or listen to press releases or follow gaming in general they would know its a shit system where you get bull shit items.

Defender of EA, i like that!!!

Does that make you a jester cos your so funny?

Or are you EA hating like many others wanting likes on here or looking big.

Avatar image for wexorian

@itchyflop: Ohh god Why F you defend EA with such long texts that nobody want to read? People are not fine with being scammed if you arehappy with it GO ON.

Avatar image for itchyflop

@wexorian: You read it didn't you?

Im not defending EA, maybe your trolling them because you have no market retail sense or knowledge of how a business runs and your not mature enough.

Furthermore, how am i NOT being scammed i dont buy MT's.