Earlier today, Electronic Arts chief executive officer Andrew Wilson had a phone call with Walt Disney consumer products and interactive media chairman Jimmy Pitaro about Star Wars: Battlefront II, according to new sources familiar with the situation. A few hours after that call, players are finding out that they can no longer make in-game purchases with real money. EA has confirmed that it is taking that feature down to address fan concerns just as the game is about to launch worldwide tomorrow. All of this comes after multiple days of outrage from fans who are upset that EA and developer DICE have implemented an online multiplayer system that gives an advantage to people who pay money.
“We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases,” DICE general manager Oskar Gabrielson. “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.”
So microtransactions will return. This isn’t a surprise, because a game the size of Star Wars: Battlefront II (with an expensive license attached to it) needs every revenue stream possible. But when it reemerges, EA is promising something players will find more palatable.
The main takeaway from the EA statement is what I've always been saying.
MTX and Loot Boxes aren't going away. They're already accepted.
All that's happening is EA tweaking the system to make it 'fun and addictive' instead of 'intrusive and predatory'.
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) November 17, 2017
“Our goal has always been to create the best possible game for all of you – devoted Star Wars fans and game players alike,” said Gabrielson. “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.”
Edit: This story originally referred to sources that said Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke with Andrew Wilson. While the call between Disney and EA took place, Iger was not actually on it. I apologize for the error, and I will do better next time.