EA just held finished up its conference for E3, officially launching off the annual conference’s festivities. While many were interested to see more about Anthem or the surprise release of Unravel Two, one of EA’s smaller announcements really stuck out to me near the beginning of the conference. In the info dump about EA’s latest shooter, Battlefield V, the publisher revealed that there will not be any loot boxes, nor even a premium pass for one of the company’s bigger titles of the year.
This is a big change of direction for EA. Just last year, the company took a lot of flack for the predatory nature of its loot boxes in Star Wars: Battlefront II, and Battlefield 1. The nature of loot boxes in these games even opened a discourse with country governments on if these in-game transactions could be considered gambling and should have special restrictions place on them. It was frankly a mess of a situation, but one that put a spotlight on many companies’ predatory tactics when it came to getting people to spend more and more money with little extra effort.
With EA being a large game company known for profiting first and worrying about its effects on the industry later, it’s a bit surprising that Battlefield V is not going to have loot boxes. In fact, the game won’t even have a premium pass, or better known as a season pass. This is another step in the consumer’s favor, as season passes in an online experience like Battlefield can quickly fragment player bases with exclusive maps and game balance ruining items.
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Granted, it’s hard to think that this company has suddenly grown a heart–likelihood is that the higher-ups have realized that being consumer friendly is going to be better for business, and that the ‘Games as a Service’ development model can be used differently. Instead of nickel and diming players for the chance at good gear, a whole and active online community can be fostered, which will bring new players in and of course, get more games sold, eventually earning more money by keeping a better reputation.
And it’s a bit hard to paint EA as a good, wholesome company when during the same conference they announced new Battlefront II DLC that is best described as Fortnite: Star Wars Edition. But even if they are just following the latest trends, at the very least one of the trends they’re following is to be more consumer friendly.