Microtransactions & Loot Boxes Drama Continues

Loot boxes & Microtransactions

The controversy that sparked around the loot boxes and the grindy progression system in EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront 2 refuses to die down easily. The drama is spreading beyond EA to companies like Blizzard, Take-Two and others. Let’s take a look at the latest loot boxes-related occurrences in the gaming world.

Take-Two President Karl Slatoff thinks loot boxes are not gambling & 19-year-old addicted to them

During Credit Suisse 21st Annual Technology conference on Scottsdale, Arizona, Karl Slatoff’s opinion on the controversy surrounding microtransactions has been asked. Take-Two director answered that the company does not see this sort of thing as gambling and that their view is aligned to that of the ESA.

In terms of the consumer noise you hear in the market right now, for me, it’s really all about content. It’s about over-delivering on content. You can’t force the consumer to do anything.

Ironically, it came right after Kotaku’s interview with a 19-year-old teen, who posted an open letter to EA via Reddit where he claims to have spent over $10k for microtransactions in the games over the past six years which lead him to seek professional help. You can find out more here.

The majority of the reason that I made my post was not really to slam EA or any of the companies that do this, but to share my story and to show that these transactions are not as innocent as they really appear to be. They can lead you down a path.

Electronic Arts & the closure of Visceral Games

The initial news of EA closing down Visceral came back in October and sparked a hype on the matter, although it was not quite the can of worms opened later by Battlefront 2. During the very same Credit Suisse 21st Annual Technology conference in Arizona attended by Karl Slatoff, Electronic Arts Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen has shared details on the reasons behind Visceral Games’ closure. He mentioned that the studio had shrunk in size over the past five or six years and was down to about just 80 developers. It tried to build a game that “really pushed gameplay to the next level”,  but…

As we kept reviewing the game, it continued to look like a much more linear game [which] people don’t like as much today as they did five years ago or ten years ago

Jorgensen went on to say Visceral’s Star Wars game was aiming to do big, revolutionary things but ultimately the roadmap for the project didn’t look financially viable for the future, which was why it had to end. It was an economic decision at the end of the day. Previously EA’s Chief Executive Officer Andrew Wilson stated that the issue with Visceral’s Star Wars game was not single-player vs multiplayer vs life services, but “getting to a point where the overall gameplay experience is right for players.”

Star Wars: Battlefront 2 & The Hidden Character Customization Menu

Youtube user known as Uninspired Zebra has shared a video and a set of pictures showcasing the hidden characters customization menu in Star Wars: Battlefront 2. It includes many cosmetic choices, for example, new models of helmets and armours and new faces and even races. However, just recently Blake Jorgensen has explained why cosmetic microtransactions are not a thing in SW: BF2:

The one thing we’re very focused on is not violating the canon of Star Wars. It’s an amazing brand that’s been built over many, many years. So 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.

Will the customization system make it in after all?

Other news on the matter you can check out to stay on top of the things:
  • New Industry ‘Think Tank‘ to Tackle Issues Including Loot Boxes and the formation of The National Committee for Games Policy
  • Belgium examines loot boxes in Overwatch and Star Wars: Battlefront 2
  • Belgium minister wants to ban loot boxes in Europe
  • Chris Lee and his stance against “predatory gaming practices

And, finally, if you don’t care for all of the above and just want to open loot boxes without spending big $ on the games and microtransactions, check out I Can’t Believe It’s Not Gambling. All the loot boxes, no drama at all!

loot boxes

Written by
While growing up in the wilds of Russia, Catherine learned to talk, write and game at almost the same time. You can follow her attempts at latter two at MMORPG.com and GameSpace.

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