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It’s been two weeks since EA shut off paid loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront 2 after a huge online backlash by players who felt they created an unfair, pay-to-win playing field. But a recent statement from an EA representative has made it clear that the gaming giant has no intentions of completely getting rid of the system.
“We’re not giving up on the notion of MTX [microtransactions],” Blake Jorgensen, EA’s chief financial officer, said while speaking at a Credit Suisse conference Tuesday.
Outrage over the game’s use of loot boxes to offer character power upgrades, as opposed to standard cosmetic upgrades, was felt in all corners of the gaming community. It even prompted Hawaii State Rep. Chris Lee to publicly denounce EA‘s game as “predatory” during a press conference where he argued that it is “a Star Wars-themed online casino designed to lure kids into spending money”.
Yet, despite all of this negative attention, EA believes there is a way to incorporate microtransactions into the gaming experience in a balanced way.
“We’re really watching how people are playing the game,” Jorgensen said, “We’re trying to understand are there certain modes where MTX may be more interesting than not? What are the consumers saying about it? How are the consumers playing the game? What do the metrics look like? We’re learning and listening to the community to decide how best to roll that out in the future.
“We pulled-off on the MTX because the real issue the consumer had was they felt it was a pay-to-win mechanic,” he added. “The reality is there’s different types of players in games. Some people have more money than time, and some people have more time than money, and you want to always balance those two.”
So when will loot boxes return to Star Wars Battlefront 2? “We haven’t decided yet,” he said.
Tiffanie Drayton is a geek culture and lifestyle reporter whose work covers everything from gender and race to anime and Xbox. Her work has appeared in Complex, Salon, Marie Claire, Playboy, and elsewhere.