E3 2018 is officially underway and we’re already one press conference down. While the presentation itself left something to be desired (even its overly-talky Anthem demonstration did little to show off the full potential of the game), one announcement showed that the company is turning over a new leaf, in some respects. While EA appears to be jumping on some trendy bandwagons with the addition of a battle royale mode to the recently-revealed Battlefield V, it’s jettisoning others after some hefty feedback from Star Wars Battlefront II players. In short, Battlefield V will feature “no loot boxes and no premium passes.”
The battle royale mode wasn’t heavily detailed during the press conference, but its inclusion gives us a strong indication of where EA hopes to bring in the non-loot-boxy money. Imaginatively named “Royale”, this new Battlefield V mode will be launching near to Call of Duty’s similar mode, titled Blackout, once again putting the two titles in direct competition. Interestingly, while Call of Duty has eschewed a single player experience in favour of the flavour of the month, Battlefield V will feature a full story experience and its classic multiplayer offerings.
More importantly for the industry in general, EA has done a 180 on its monetisation policies for Battlefield V. A lack of loot boxes and premium passes will come as a delightful surprise to players, but makes a whole lot of sense for anyone who witnessed the Great Star Wars Battlefront II Backlash of 2017. Attempting to recapture player sentiment will be vital for the publisher as it launches more community-centric games, Anthem included. Speaking of which, that too will feature “no loot boxes or pay-for-power advantages”.
It’s a commendable effort and one we’d hope to see replicated elsewhere in the industry, but it’s also a sensible play for an industry whose community is getting more and more tired of being nickled and dimed for their favourite games.