“We just want to make sure people are having a great Star Wars experience.”
There has been no shortage of big news this year, but undoubtedly what will go down as one of the most explosive developments this year in gaming will be the controversy that surrounded microtransactions and loot boxes, which came to a head with EA’s Star Wars Battlefront 2, which was so blatantly pay to win that the blowback ended up catching the attention of regulators and government bodies worldwide.
It’s been pretty easy to lay the blame squarely on EA and DICE for how far they went with their attempts at monetizing the game- and make no mistake, I still think they should be held responsible. However, that said, it sounds like LucasFilm, the custodians of the Star Wars franchise, may themselves have had something to do with how things turned out, too.
“We have input and they take feedback from us across the whole spectrum. We work together very much to understand how those systems work and what they’re trying to achieve, how they touch the brand, and how they affect the consumer experience,”Douglas Reilly, Vice President of the Lucasfilm Games Team at Disney Interactive, told VentureBeat in an interview. “I think the challenge, and it’s one that everybody’s facing in this industry—running live services requires tuning and tweaking, and sometimes you don’t get things right the first try, once you put it in the hands of hundreds or thousands or millions of players. You continue to learn how they interact with the things you’ve made, and you run into things you have to adjust along the way. That’s the unfortunate reality of making games with a live service component.
“I can’t think of anything that would be a continuity concern, as much as it is—we just want to make sure people are having a great Star Wars experience, at the end of the day. To the extent that those systems affect the quality of the experience, we’re always going to have a point of view about how they get implemented.”
It sounds like LucasFilm and Disney were all too happy at the prospect of the continuous revenues that Battlefront 2 would have generated in its original form- and it was only when things got so bad with the game that the brand could have suffered some damage that they decided to pull back. One thing is for sure, no one comes out looking good in this story.