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Star Wars Battlefront 2: EA talks return of microtransactions, Star Wars canon and more

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Ever since I started playing Star Wars Battlefront 2 last week and delivered my verdict on the game, giving it a 6.5 out of 10, I have been thinking about the game’s microtransactions returning at some point in the future. EA hasn’t said anything about the return of microtransactions since the publisher pulled them from the game, until now.

Speaking at the Credit Suisse conference, EA’s CFO, Blake Jorgensen, reiterated that microtransactions will indeed return to the game and that the company has not given up on them. However, EA has not decided yet when they will be reinserting microtransactions into Star Wars Battlefront 2. According to Eurogamer, Mr Jorgensen explained that:

We're really watching how people are playing the game. 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.

How about no microtransactions at all? That would be great, but then how would EA make more money? The easy answer would be cosmetic only items. Well, that might be a bit difficult, because EA doesn’t want cosmetic items to violate Star Wars canon. As transcribed by Twinfinite, Mr Jorgensen explains that:

It’s an amazing brand that’s been built over many many years. If you did a bunch of cosmetic things, you might start to violate the canon. Darth Vader in white probably doesn’t make sense versus in black, not to mention you probably don’t want Darth Vader in pink — no offense to pink but I don’t think that’s right in the canon.

There might be things we can do cosmetically, and we’re working with Lucas on that, but coming into it, it wasn’t as easy as if we were building a game around our own IP where it didn’t really matter. It matters in Star Wars, because Star Wars fans want realism. But Star Wars fans also may want to tailor things — different color Lightsabers, things like that — so you may see something like that.

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Even Iden Versio is shocked and disappointed

The question remains how EA failed to see the loot box problem in the first place. Did they really think customers would just be happy with the pay-to-win progression system? Mr Jorgensen explains:

"We did some testing around the MTX model but not enough to really understand some of the reactions we ultimately got. There were bigger concerns at the time such as the beta working with millions of people playing. We pulled-off on the MTX because the real issue the consumer had was they felt it was a pay-to-win mechanic.

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. For us it's a great learning experience. We are trying to run the company with an ear to the consumer at all times, not only in the testing phase but when the game is up and running. We're trying to build games that last for years, not for months... If we're not making mistakes along the way and learning from them, that's when you should worry about us. But our view is these are great opportunities for us to continue to tune the game, to adjust things."

I, for one, honestly can’t see how EA thought everything would be all well and good with such a progression system. In case you missed my review, I explained that for me, it felt as if the flawed progression system and microtransaction model was designed first, and then the game designed around it. That’s how bad it is right now, even with microtransactions currently disabled.

What do you think about EA’s explanation for the microtransactions and if they have to return, what do you hope the system will look like? Let us know in the comment section below.

Sources: Credit Suisse conference, Eurogamer, Twinfinite

ICYMI: Check out my video review of Star Wars Battlefront 2's multiplayer and current progression system.

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