It’s been a rough year for EA who have come in for a number of criticisms regarding their implementation of microtransactions and loot boxes in their games.
The controversy surrounding Star Wars: Battlefront II’s loot boxes was one of the biggest gaming stories of 2017 and ended up resulting in a number of countries ruling that loot boxes were illegal as they were a form of gambling. Not only did EA gain the attention of governments around the world, they also received a substantial backlash from the gaming community.
As a result of the criticism, and arguably gamers hitting EA where it hurts (financially), the company has made an effort to repair relations with consumers and to rebuild the trust it had lost. This started with the removal of microtransactions from Star Wars: Battlefront II. EA has also revealed that Battlefield V will not have a season pass, with all future DLC being released for free to everyone who purchases a copy of Battlefield V.
The changes in how EA approach developing games and monetisation is now governed by an EA moral compass, according to EA’s vice president of strategic growth, Matt Bilbey.
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Bilbey revealed that he and EA’s chief creative officer, Patrick Soderlund, worked together following the fallout of the Battlefront II controversy to overhaul the company’s development process. This involved redesigning framework and testing platforms to give development teams the right guidance to implement games as a service in the right manner. According to Bilbey, this is known as the “EA moral compass.”
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Bilbey said, “I ran a team internally with Patrick post-Battlefront to actually redesign our game development framework and testing platforms to ensure we’re giving our game teams the right guidance”
“We’ll call it an EA moral compass–at the beginning of development so that we’re designing our live service early, we’re testing it early, testing it with gamers who are giving us feedback so we ensure those pillars of fairness, value, and fun are true.”
EA are now focusing on designing games as a service. This means that the company is working to find ways to continue generating revenue following the launch of a game while providing a service to gamers. No longer will most of the revenue from a game come from its initial launch. Instead, EA is concentrating on post-launch content. However, EA are determined to do it the right way this time.