During a presentation for investors the Credit Suisse 21st Annual Technology conference on Scottsdale, Arizona, Electronic Arts Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen talked about the controversial issue involving microtransactions in Star Wars: Battlefront II.
According to Jorgensen, the company is listening to its customers, and that doing so now and down the line is “very important.” He admitted that mistakes were made, but they’re in a learning phase, and the moment in which the company doesn’t make mistakes and isn’t learning from them, is when it’s time to worry about them.
Jorgensen also added that the reason Microtransactions were removed from the game is that customers felt that they were “pay-to-win,” explaining that the reality of things is that there are two kinds of gamers, one has more time than money, and the other has more money than time. The goal is to have a balance between them.
Jorgensen was also asked about the possibility of having cosmetic microtransactions, and he explained that EA is “very focused” and Lucasarts is “extremely focused” on not violating the canon of Star Wars, and cosmetic microtransactions might lead to that. As an example, he mentioned that Darth Vader in white would not make sense, and you definitely don’t want him in pink.
That being said, some cosmetic microtransactions are still a possibility, for instance, the change of lightsabers’ colors. That being said, plans aren’t finalized and at the moment Electronic Arts doesn’t know an exact time frame on when microtransactions will be turned back on. That being said, they weren’t included in the company’s revenue predictions, as they did not know what effects they would have.
Jorgensen also explained that the company moved away from paid DLC. The attach rate for DLC maps and content was typically around 25% or less, meaning that they ended up dividing the community playing the games. Electronic Arts is trying to keep the community together and as large as possible since normally people want to find millions of people to play with.
In order to achieve that, they decided to provide all the DLC for free, while layering in another economic model to try to make up for some of the economics.
According to Jorgensen, that strategy won’t change, and Electronic Arts isn’t giving up on microtransactions or on the idea of providing post-launch DLC for free. The plan of keeping the community together, engaging players via new content and events is defined as “critical” for the future of the business. The publisher feels that they have nailed the model with sports games, and they’ll continue to work on finding the best model for its other games outside of sports.