EA is fixing Star Wars Battlefront II’s monetization mess (again): It won’t be selling lockboxes

    
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Don’t call it a victory – nobody wins forever in the Star Wars universe – but there’s still reason to cheer in Star Wars Battlefront II today. EA has announced that it’s overhauling the entire progression system for the game. Readers will recall that outrage over the game’s lockbox gambling was the final chunk of kindling in the monetization dumpster fire that finally blazed over into mainstream media coverage at the end of 2017. (The “a sense of pride and accomplishment” line was being quoted in government hearings last month.)

“With this update, progression is now linear,” EA declares. “Star Cards, or any other item impacting gameplay, will only be earned through gameplay and will not be available for purchase. Instead, you’ll earn experience points for the classes, hero characters, and ships that you choose to play in multiplayer. If you earn enough experience points to gain a level for that unit, you’ll receive one Skill Point that can be used to unlock or upgrade the eligible Star Card you’d like to equip.”

Everything you’ve already unlocked, you keep. You can’t buy lockboxes anymore; crates now come only from logging in and actually playing the game, and the crates won’t drop Star Cards. In effect, all purchases are now direct purchases with no gambling or RNG component. The update is coming on March 21st, though in April, players will be able to buy cosmetics using in-game currencies and real cash.

“In addition to continued balance patches, we will also add a number of modes to Star Wars Battlefront II in the coming months, offering several standout, brand-new ways to play. Some of these, like the recently released limited-time Jetpack Cargo, are radically different than anything you’ve experienced in the game before, and we’re excited to surprise you with what we have planned.”

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Anstalt

Linear vertical progression in a PvP game.

Idiots

ultorius
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ultorius

too late both for them and for destiny 2.Hard pass on both from me.I swear EAs next game will be a pacman clone and it will need both sub and cash shop to play it

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Peregrine Falcon

Once this is gone live I’ll go buy a copy of SWBF2. Why? Because, just as well show our displeasure with EA’s decisions in hopes that they’ll change them so we should also show our support for EA when they do (finally) the right thing.

After all, if EA knows that people aren’t going to buy something anyway then what motivation do they have to listen to us?

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Schlag Sweetleaf

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ONLY GAMEPLAY.jpg
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rafael12104

Lol! I knew this would shake Schlag loose for a visit.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

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rafael12104

Lol!!

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Mr Poolaty

My guess is the snowflakes will fill the forums now saying it’s too grindy…

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Brother Maynard

Unlike some posters, I don’t see this as ‘too late’.

SWBF2 has been a lost cause for EA for quite some time – I’m sure they’d considered it dead long before many players and random viewers did.

This is simply about testing various strategies for their future titles (especially Anthem – if it releases – since it will attract a similar crowd). In other words, this move is not an attempt to do anything with SWBF2, it’s part of an extensive market study.

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Sally Bowls

SWBF2 has been a lost cause for EA for quite some time

Perhaps. While they forecast 10M, but they did sell 9M. So they missed estimates by 10%. As disappointments go, is 9M that bad?

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Brother Maynard

Like other companies, their financial planning most likely always takes the conservative estimate. Leaving the whole fiasco aside, a normal AAA game of this size, budget and marketing push and using the SW IP just before a major movie release could be reasonably expected to sell many many more copies than that.

EA’s main focus was on continuous income through additional paid content, heavy microtransactions and all the usual rubbish they now try to shove down out throats. The 10M sales projection was just the entry fee, not the main show. In that sense, like many dynamic business executives would do, they quickly assessed the damage SWBF2 sustained, saw it as terminal and moved on. If anything and since it’s a young game with an active player base, they can use it to test new tactics directly on the players of a game very similar in fundamental aspects to what they are currently planning as a major release designed to plug the Mass Effect hole.

Sure, the game will bring in more cash, but that’s like selling a dead body for organs. It’s not their objective and only comes in as a bonus.

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Koshelkin

The games still pop very, very fast. If you think Battlefront 2 is a lost cause you didn’t play it.

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Brother Maynard

Of course I did not play it – why would I play anything that EA and other gangsters put out?

I was not talking about the activity in the game – that may very well be as you describe it. But from the management point of view and considering that SWBF2’s main expected income was to be from additional continuous payments, not from the box sales, to EA this game has been as dead as ME:A a few months after its release.

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Koshelkin

I think you’re overly paranoid. EA noticed that fans won’t take their shit and shifted gear. The game gets supported and updated. It might become an additional income venue still. It gets new game modes for now and probably more in the future. As EA wants to sell more Star Wars games in the future it has to be their goal to correct the things they did wrong at launch and please the population. A game with an active playerbase and a strong IP can’t be a lost cause for any company.

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Brother Maynard

And I would say that with a 20-years experience with EA, to me personally starting with the fate of the beloved Westwood studios, giving EA any kind of benefit of doubt would be very naive.

But leaving this aside, the recognition of SWBF2 as a dead product by the company management has nothing to do with the in-game population and activity. At this moment, it’s purely in a reputational damage control. Whatever is done to this game will always be at the minimum affordable cost while trying to score a few reputational points if they can.

But that doesn’t change anything about the fact that from the business point of view, it’s a dead game and the EA’s executives know it very well. And since they wouldn’t be where they are if they did not adapt to the evolving situation, it’s also an opportunity – to use the game to test new tactics. There’s nothing paranoid about it, it’s just normal business sense.

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Koshelkin

It’s what you assume is good business sense. Neither of us can really proof what’s true here, because it could easily be either one, something in the middle or something else entirely.

You’re stating your assumptions as facts, that’s off-putting. You can’t know what’s going on exactly and just think your opinions are true because you have this overtly negative opinion of EA, hence paranoia.

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Bannex

Their issue wasn’t just the lootboxes. The issue is that the game is flat out horrible. It looks nice but plays like shit and this is
coming from a battlefield fan.

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Koshelkin

Opinions. I think the game is great and considering the speed I get matches there are alot of other people who think the same.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

Games as a service….is it the future? Is it a bubble that will burst?

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Korithian

May explain the Anthem delay, they must be hoping that in a year people will no longer associate lock boxes with EA and mercenary business practices. Though given their handling of SWTOR and milking everything they can out of that with the minimal level of content maximum focus on the cash shop; I wouldn’t hold out Anthem will be treated any better.

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Randy Savage

Anthem probably isn’t even close to the monetization stage

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Jack Kerras

Straight-up:

If they are not ALREADY designing Anthem AROUND its monetization, its monetization is going to suck.

You either design the monetization to go hand-in-glove with the rest of the game, reasonably, permissively, and with an eye towards rewarding purchases by enhancing gameplay rather than skipping repetitive grind by making purchases, or else you fuck it up -severe-.

Designing the game and hatcheting a big jagged fucking hole in it that you spackle over with half-baked monetizing bullshit is the way you get bad systems.

Designing the monetization system and then forcing the game to wrap around it is -also- the way you get bad systems.

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Brother Maynard

With EA (and other monsters out there), the monetization stage is the very first stage.

Then they try to figure out what game to build around it…

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McGuffn

On the other hand they probably completed a vertical slice of the monetization mechanic first and the delay is to get the lockbox opening animation exactly right.

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Khalith .

Holy shit, it’s starting to look like an actual video game now!