SuperData examines the lootbox controversy’s effect on EA and the gaming industry

How big a deal with the lootbox controversy that finally hit the mainstream last year? Pretty big, SuperData argues. In a new blog post, the analytics firm argues that “the loot box controversy hampered Star Wars Battlefront II out of the gate” as shown by the game’s monthly active users compared to its predecessor’s, and that the resulting dumpster fire has caused publishers to rethink lootboxes and self-regulate or at least modulate their greed – an effect we’ve already seen in the MMO industry too.

“At the upcoming E3, we’re likely to see presenters announce ‘no loot boxes’ or that paid content is ‘cosmetic only’ in order to get on the good side of creators and hardcore gamers,” SuperData predicts. “Loot boxes won’t disappear anytime soon given their success in games like Overwatch (over $600M of loot boxes sold through February 2018). In the short term, though, ‘No loot boxes’ will be the game industry’s own ‘gluten free water’ — and we’re likely to even see this slogan used to market titles where loot boxes would not make sense such as adventure games.”

Coincidentally, The Verge has published an interview with newly installed EA Chief Design Officer Patrick Söderlund in which he admits the controversy affected the company. “I’d be lying to you if I said that what’s happened with Battlefront and what’s happened with everything surrounding loot boxes and these things haven’t had an effect on EA as a company and an effect on us as management,” he says. “We can shy away from it and pretend like it didn’t happen, or we can act responsibly and realize that we made some mistakes, and try to rectify those mistakes and learn from them.”

And EA apparently means to do just that with Anthem. “For games that come next, for Battlefield or for Anthem, [players have] made it very clear that we can’t afford to make similar mistakes,” he says. “And we won’t.”

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10 Comments on "SuperData examines the lootbox controversy’s effect on EA and the gaming industry"

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Between the pathetic quality of EA game’s over the last…half a decade? I dunno, the last game I enjoyed from EA was DA:I and that game still had it’s fair share of issues. Before that was probably ME3. (Despite the controversy behind the ending) I don’t expect much out of them…and this is before MTX is involved. So yeah, until they make good games without bullshit in them I won’t be on board. Sorry, you don’t get “Games as a service” on yearly franchises. That is absolutely absurd. Loot boxes or not. I should not have to pay more money for cosmetics or even have the option of paying more money for cosmetics for a game that costs 60$ at launch and gets 2-3 maps for content.

Robert Mann

When money is lost, suddenly EA cares… about the lost money. It’s going to take more than this to bring ethics to those studios and publishers without ethics. EA isn’t alone in that.

As to the MMO part, city of titans counts. The rest are just multiplayer games.

Finally, of course advertising is going to be advertising, and will abuse any stupidity they can. That’s been true since advertising began.


I like how you say it had all this huge effect on the MMO industry but it really hasn’t. Most of the games you link aren’t even MMOs but rather simply online titles. Even then most are just games that wouldn’t have had loot boxes regardless looking to capitalize on meaningless, empty gestures (sorry folks, you don’t get brownie points for saying, “I’m drug free” when you never were on drugs).

Any and all major MMOs had them still do have them. Even ANet re-released it’s RNG Gamble mount tickets with the only difference being the inclusion of a triple priced ticket that lets you choose a mount instead. The original deal was so bad people literally thanked ANet for letting them pay 3x as much the second time round even lol…and that’s the real impact EA and BF2 had on the industry. Day 1 DLC? Who cares, at least it’s not Lootboxes. Oh gotta pay for cosmetics instead of earn them in game? Not a lootbox thankfully!

Show people something truly terrible, and they’ll thank you for being just terrible.


Superdata seems to classify any always-online game as a MMO.


If you look at the line int his article “an effect we’ve already seen in the MMO industry too.” it’s actually a series of links to MOP articles that are mostly non-MMO games but rather simply online titles.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

We can shy away from it and pretend like it didn’t happen, or we can act responsibly and realize that we made some mistakes, and try to rectify those mistakes and learn from them.”

happy lil accident.gif

Lol. You picked a good day to be hang around here Schlag. Wait until you see the Anthem article. LOL!


Heh. Interesting developments. But before we go any further I have an important question. There is gluten-free water??!!! LOL! I hope that is a joke.

So, ok. So the gamers of the world unite thing? Yeah, it worked. Oh, there were other factors the biggest being the naked greed of EA and Mickey Mouse having someone screw around with his stuff. But overall, and it is far from a win, it is obvious that consumers can and often do have a say. Visibility is the key.

Second, I’m against loot boxes, in general. But as cosmetic items only for which the odds are clearly posted and visible? I can deal with that. And, I still say that games catering toward minors should be free of loot boxes. And for the love of Candy Crush, this needs to include mobile games.

So, we have gotten this far, now is not the time to call off the dogs. It would seem that the industry is poised to self regulation, given the suddenly popular “we’ve always hated loot boxes too” mantra. But I think the pressure should remain via reddit, sites like this one, conversations with lawmakers etc.

Until we have something signed and sealed industry wide, let the controversy continue.

Brother Maynard

There is gluten-free water??!!! LOL! I hope that is a joke.

Personally, I prefer gluten-free auto repair, but water’s fine too.

You know what, though? From a strictly legal point of view, they’re right – there really is no gluten to be found in them…

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I tried a chemical free diet but did not find it very filling.