After the huge uproar around Star Wars: Battlefront II’s microtransaction system, EA is reconsidering its thoughts on the controversial business practice for the next Battlefield game. According to sources speaking to Kotaku, EA and DICE are planning to only offer cosmetic items in the game’s loot boxes. The caveat here is that these plans could change before the game, which is rumored to be set in World War 2, is released later this year.
“No one’s gonna do any pay-to-win stuff anymore,” a source close to the new Battlefield game told Kotaku. “We didn’t take any of the loot box controversy lightly.”
This follows on from a report last week from USGamer that said EA was planning only to offer cosmetic items in the next Battlefield game’s loot boxes.
2016’s Battlefield 1 features loot boxes that you could buy with real money, but these only contain cosmetic items. What makes Battlefront II’s loot boxes so controversial is that they contain items that actually affect gameplay like better grenades. Loot boxes are still in the game, but you can’t buy them with real money, only through gameplay progression. The ability to pay for loot boxes is coming back, but EA hasn’t said yet or what changes might be in place.
Kotaku spoke with people from video game companies big and small, and reports that the consensus among developers is to “tread carefully” as it relates to loot boxes.
In the wake of Battlefront II, lawmakers and regulatory bodies from around the world have questioned if loot boxes constitute gambling. And if they do, some states and countries might restrict the sale of games with loot boxes to minors. In the US, the ESRB recently announced that games with loot boxes will soon carry a label that says “In-Game Purchases.”