Loot boxes, like the Empire, are striking back. Electronic Arts plans to reinstate the controversial monetization feature in Star Wars Battlefront 2 "in the next few months," according to a tweet from Wall Street Journal reporter Sarah Needleman.
"We'll do it when we think it's ready," EA's finance chief, Blake Jorgensen, tells WSJ. This statement comes after Jorgensen reportedly told a gathering of investors in December EA might not bring microtransactions back to the game.
So, what's changed? According to Needleman, Battlefront 2 sales didn't live up to expectations during the holiday quarter. EA sold an estimated 9 million copies, one million less than expected. The game is on track to sell another one to three million units by the end of fiscal 2018. The first Battlefront sold 14 million copies by the end of fiscal 2016, in comparison.
EA halted microtransactions on the eve of Battlefront 2's launch after beta participants complained the loot boxes were overly aggressive and gave an unfair advantage to those who spent the money. The public outcry led to EA receiving the most downvoted comment in Reddit history. The publisher reportedly also lost an estimated $3.1 billion in stock value following the controversy, and Hawaii state legislators are now considering a ban on the game and investigating what they call "predatory practices."
We've reached out to EA for clarification on what elements of the loot boxes will be reinstated.