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EA: We Believe In Microtransactions

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


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

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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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