EA is forging ahead with loot boxes following Battlefront 2 controversy

EA is forging ahead with loot boxes following Battlefront 2 controversy

The Star Wars Battlefront II controversy might have been a PR disaster but publisher EA is "pushing forward" with its loot crate business model all the same.

In the publishing giant's recent investor call, CEO Andrew Wilson was asked by a representative from Goldman Sachs about loot boxes being classed as gambling in some regions following the aforementioned controversy.

The exec - unsurprisingly - insisted that loot boxes are not gambling and said that the firm was working with organisations around the world to establish this fact. 

This news hardly comes as a shock - EA has made a lot of positive noise about how it has learnt from its mistakes with Battlefront II and despite them not being popular, loot boxes were always going to stay in its list of potential business models. 

"As you might imagine, we're working with all the industry associations globally and with regulators in various jurisdictions and territories, many of whom we've been working with for some time and have evaluated and established that programs like FIFA Ultimate Team are not gambling," Wilson said, as transcribed by Seeking Alpha.

"And we don't believe that FIFA Ultimate Team – all loot boxes are gambling.

"Firstly, players always receive a specified number of items in each FUT pack. And secondly, we don't provide or authorize any way to cash out or sell items in virtual currency for real-world money. And there's no way we can make value assign to FUT items in game currency. And while we forbid the transfer of items of in-the-game currency outside, we also actively seek to eliminate that where it's going on in an illegal environment, and we work with regulators in various jurisdictions to achieve that.

"And so net-net, we're going to continue to push forward. We're always thinking about our players. We're always thinking about how to deliver these types of experiences in a transparent, fun, fair, and balanced way for our players. And we'll communicate with regulators around the world on it."

Star Wars Battlefront II was just one of many games to draw the ire of consumers for its aggressive implementation of monetisation options such as loot crates, alongside Middle-earth: Shadow of War and Forza Motorsport 7. 

Shadow of War has since ditched loot boxes.

The controversy went beyond the games sphere, eventually coming under the gaze of gambling authorities and politicians around the globe. Belgium and the Netherlands have since declared loot boxes as gambling.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.