The situation surrounding EA's loot box controversy in Star Wars Battlefront II has been nothing short of a dumpster fire. The controversy stemmed from the excess time investment required to earn a steady drip-feed of credits used to buy loot crates and heroes – a system that could, of course, be bypassed by simply spending real money on a special currency to buy loot boxes. This ultimately caused enough backlash to cause EA to pull microtransactions from the game altogether at launch.
Theoretically, much of the backlash could have been avoided by sticking with purely cosmetic items in loot boxes, much like games like Overwatch and League of Legends. However, according to an interview with EA chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen (via Polygon), EA specifically avoided cosmetic items so as to not violate the Star Wars canon. Speaking at the Credit Suisse Annual Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, Jorgensen said:
As Polygon notes, the decision to avoid cosmetic items due to concerns over Star Wars canon is undercut somewhat by the canon-breaking situations presented by pitting Star Wars characters from different eras against one another in the game's multiplayer. Ultimately, EA likely has to stick with strict guidelines about how to handle characters, passed down from Lucasfilm. And I think we can all agree that having a pink Darth Vader running around, while humorous, could clash with Lucasfilm's view of the character.
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