DICE and EA cave to pressure on Loot Boxes in Star Wars: Battlefront II

Temporary it may well be, but mark this one up in the victory column for gamers everywhere.  Loot boxes, which have been arguably described as play to win in many quarters, have been removed from Star Wars Battlefront II mere hours after launching in the UK.

DICE head honcho Oskar Gabrielson gave the following statement shortly after their removal.

“Thank you to everyone in our community for being the passionate fans that you are.

Our goal has always been to create the best possible game for all of you – devoted Star Wars fans and game players alike. We’ve also had an ongoing commitment to constantly listen, tune and evolve the experience as it grows. You’ve seen this with both the major adjustments, and polish, we have made over the past several weeks.

But as we approach the worldwide launch, it’s clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design. We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn’t get this right.

We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases. We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing and tuning. This means that the option to purchase crystals in the game is now offline, and all progression will be earned through gameplay. The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we’ve made changes to the game. We’ll share more details as we work through this.

We have created a game that is built on your input, and it will continue to evolve and grow. Star Wars Battlefront II is three times the size of the previous game, bringing to life a brand new Star Wars story, space battles, epic new multiplayer experiences across all three Star Wars eras, with more free content to come. We want you to enjoy it, so please keep your thoughts coming. And we will keep you updated on our progress.”

I have to admit to being a little uneasy over the mob mentality that has engulfed gaming in recent years since the Mass Effect 3 controversy.  That said, gamers are a loyal bunch who are willing to shell out huge amounts of money on hardware and games if they’re treated correctly.  On that basis, why shouldn’t they voice their concerns over something they view as ruining gaming?

For EA’s part, presumably they had seen a significant drop off in sales and pre-orders on the back of this saga.  As late as yesterday they hosted a Reddit AMA which seemed to suggest they were aware of the problem but unwilling to make any major changes to the micro transaction system.

What do you think?  Is this a bunch of spoilt children throwing their toys out of the pram over nothing?  Or are EA guilty of eroding trust with yet another shady business practice?

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