EA talks about why loot boxes exist in Star Wars Battlefront 2; Mentions free content updates, game longevity and more

Warning: It's lengthy.

EA and DICE received negative feedback over the first iteration of loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront II. The loot boxes were tested out by players (who had plenty to say on them) and were ultimately changed to better suit players before release.

In EA's recent earning call, an investor had the opportunity to question the CEO on loot boxes, the feedback the team had receieved and the changes that have been made since the beta.

Andrew P. Wilson the CEO of Electronic Arts gave a long, long reply when questioned on in-game monetization in Star Wars Battlefront 2. According to Wilson, in the case of Star Wars Battlefront II, content that would have been Season Pass content is free. So, the only way that EA can secure incoming revenue throughout the games entire lifespan (which they believe will be more than one year) is through item purchases.

These purchases help EA continue to create a 'live service' that continuously adds new content to a game. More notably, loot boxes were detailed to be items that are fair and not necessarily pay-to-win. 

So Star Wars Battlefront II, feedback from the beta and the added assets that we've put in the marketplace have been very strong. Feedback on gameplay was very positive. The beta was very robust and probably one of the most stable betas that we've had. And again, the core reason why we put betas into the marketplace is really to test the robustness of the infrastructure and systems on which a game of this size and magnitude will run on.

As we've looked at the feedback on the graphical quality, the overall gameplay and assets around single player that we've launched since then, everything is very, very positive.

There was, of course, the conversation around loot boxes, which is not a Star Wars Battlefront II specific conversation, but more one that the industry is having with players across the global community. And we are engaged in that conversation, engaging with our players on a daily basis as we think about that.

There are really two conversations going on there. One is about value. And in a world where a player pays $60 for a game, will there also be value in the ongoing digital ecosystem that comes for many years? When we think about value, we look at Star Wars Battlefront II and we say, we start with a game that's nearly three times the size of the last game. We take what much of the content that would've been gated behind a Season Pass, and we offer that to the community for free. So we feel very good about the overall value proposition focused on keeping the player community together.

Then as we think about players that are playing the game for many years post-launch and the digital ecosystem and the event-driven live services that they participate in, it comes down to the second conversation, which is, does the digital ecosystem offer the opportunity for an individual player in the community to pay to win?

And balance and fairness inside of gameplay is very important to our community. And it's very important to us. And it's kind of a benchmark by which DICE builds games. And we have seen that in the many DICE games, multi-player games we've built over the years.

When we think about this, it really comes down to what are the things that you can earn, what are the things that you can buy, and how do we manage progression through that process? And while we will be making adjustments based on feedback from the beta, which is great, and we'll continue a daily dialogue with our players to make ongoing adjustments for many years to come, as this event-driven live service continues, we feel very good about the fact that you can earn almost everything in the game.

And more importantly, key elements that drive progression can only be earned in the game. But there will be an opportunity for players who come in to also enhance and extend their experience through the ongoing digital economy.

And we believe that what we've got with a core base game that's three times the size, what would have previously been gated behind Season Pass is now free for all users, with a focus on keeping a community together, and an event-driven live service that we expect will continue for many years to come that is built around player choice and focuses around a world where players can earn everything they need to progress through the game, is the right way to balance this.

And so we feel very good about that. And we'll stay connected with our community as we move through the coming weeks, months and years.

[Call Transcript]