As we all know, EA loves its lootboxes. While they are not the ones who first envisioned them, nor popularized them, they are taking the hardest backlash for them due to the way they monetize their games, even high-tier ones like Star Wars: Battlefront II (2017). And yes, if you already didn’t find out by now, they could simply not resist putting them into Command & Conquer: Rivals.
A few days ago, gamesindustry.biz interviewed EA vice-president of strategic growth Matt Bilbey on matters such as game streaming, VR, game-licensed movies, but what stood out was the last subject – lootboxes. Bilbey states that EA is working with entities such as the Belgian Gaming Commission, which lobbies for legal restrictions on such practices:
I believe what we’re working through with those specific groups at the moment is an education. Not meant in a patronizing way, but just helping them understand how we design the games and the notion of choice and our commitment to making the games fair and fun. We learned a lot from Star Wars: Battlefront.
Additionally, he says that they have an internal “moral compass” that would supposedly ensure “fairness”:
I ran a team internally with Patrick post-Battlefront to actually redesign our game development framework and testing platforms to ensure we’re giving our game teams the right guidance–we’ll call it an EA moral compass–at the beginning of development so that we’re designing our live service early, we’re testing it early, testing it with gamers who are giving us feedback so we ensure those pillars of fairness, value, and fun are true.
PC Gamer’s brief analysis pointed out EA’s self-contradiction. In May 2018, not even a full month after EA chief designer Patrick Söderlund claimed they wanted to avoid another Star Wars: Battlefront II (2017) scenario, EA CEO Andrew Wilson stated in an earnings call that the company would “push forward” with lootboxes.
With EA refusing to take the hint from players and even some countries’ governments, the future of their games seems bleak indeed.