What seems likely here is that EA is just waiting for the right time to bring back microtransactions, albeit with some adjustments to make them seem not so egregious and predatory. Think about it: AAA games like Star Wars Battlefront II live and die on the strength of their pre-order numbers and unit sales within the first few months of release. With Star Wars: The Last Jedi releasing in the middle of December, Star Wars Battlefront II is practically guaranteed to be one of the best-selling games in the lead-up to the holidays. Parents are still going to buy the game for their kids regardless because it’s a Star Wars game and most of them probably aren’t even aware of or understand the loot box controversy anyway. That being said, Star Wars Battlefront II has been the biggest story in gaming for the last week or so but for all the wrong reasons, so EA risked losing a ton of pre-orders from the core gamer crowd — and potentially even average consumers who may have just heard something bad about the game — if they didn’t make a show of trying to fix things. This is all feels like a ploy to maximize how many units of the game EA can sell at launch so that they can report something positive back to their shareholders. Once enough people have bought the game, microtransactions will be back because at that point, gamers can cry foul all they want but at the end of the day — EA still got their $60 out of you.
The unfortunate part in all of this it all could have easily been avoided. When Star Wars Battlefront II was first announced, EA trumpeted it as an apology for the mistakes made in the first Star Wars Battlefront, which was released as an incomplete game saddled with an expensive season pass. Their solution? A predatory, pay-to-win model that breaks the balance of the game for anyone not willing to spend additional money on premium currency. EA easily could have avoided all of this by copying games like Overwatch, Destiny 2, and MOBAs such as League of Legends and DOTA 2 (just to name a few), which have all built successful microtransaction models around loot boxes that are entirely cosmetic and don’t affect gameplay. Star Wars is one of the biggest media franchises in the world. Are you seriously telling me that EA and DICE couldn’t have packed loot boxes with a ton of different costumes and watched as the money rolled in?