EA removed microtransactions from Star Wars Battlefront 2 following the outcry over the game’s progression system, as many people felt that the game is “pay to win.” But although that removal was meant to be temporary, new comments from EA suggest that it could end up being permanent.
Speaking during the 37th Nasdaq Investor Conference earlier this week, EA’s chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen explains that the company dropped Star Wars Battlefront 2‘s microtransactions as an “opportunity to work on the progression system inside the game.” The EA executive also referenced a recent update to the game’s progression system and said that more updates to the game are on the way.
As part of this process, Jorgensen says that “over time we’ll address how we will want to bring the [microtransactions] either into the game or not and what form we will decide to bring it into.” This comment from the executive suggests that EA may choose to not bring back microtransactions to Star Wars Battlefront 2 at all.
It’s not hard to see why EA may consider dropping microtransactions from the game altogether. The ensuing backlash about the game’s business model was so severe that EA’s stock value dropped by over $3 billion. Investors were well aware that fans weren’t happy, and the massive drop in stock value was investors’ way of making their concerns known.
Moreover, sales of Star Wars Battlefront 2 dropped by over 60% when compared to the first game. While a myriad of factors could have led to the lower sales figures, the microtransaction backlash certainly turned many fans off of the game. EA may fear that by reintroducing microtransactions it could end up reigniting the flames of controversy, which would further impact sales of the game even after the initial controversy has died down.
Though, if EA does ultimately decide to bring back microtransactions, then additional comments that Jorgensen made during the event may inspire some optimism. The EA executive also says that EA considers itself a “learning organization” and that it is “very focused on listening to the consumer and understanding what the consumer wants and that’s evolving constantly.”
What consumers don’t want is a business model that seems to exploit their time, money, and their goodwill, which is what EA was accused of doing when the Battlefront 2 microtransactions were first revealed. But if EA is aware of what people want, this will hopefully mean that whatever it chooses to do with microtransactions, the solution will do right by fans.