EA’s CDO: We Can’t Afford To Make Mistakes with Monetization in Anthem or Battlefield 2018, and We Won’t
Just a few days ago, EA announced the restructuring of its executive team with Laura Miele becoming the Chief Studios Officer and Patrick Söderlund stepping up as Chief Design Officer.
The Verge managed to score a follow-up interview with Söderlund himself who wasn't at all afraid to dive into what happened with the Star Wars Battlefront II loot box fiasco and how EA plans to avoid making that kind of mistake in the future.
I’d be lying to you if I said that what’s happened with Battlefront and what’s happened with everything surrounding loot boxes and these things haven’t had an effect on EA as a company and an effect on us as management. We can shy away from it and pretend like it didn’t happen, or we can act responsibly and realize that we made some mistakes, and try to rectify those mistakes and learn from them.
We had the intent that was designed for us to have more people play it over a longer period of time. And like a lot of other games on the market, to be able to afford to do that we had an idea of getting returns from that. But at the same time, we got it wrong. And as a result, we had to take very quick and drastic actions to turn everything off, and we’ve since worked and redesigned the progression system. People seem to appreciate what we’ve done, players are coming back, and we’re seeing stronger engagement numbers. People seem to think that for the most part, we got it right. It doesn’t mean we will stop. We’ll continue to improve the game, we’ll continue to push on these things, and we’ll have to be very cautious with what this means for future products.
We have taken significant steps as a company to review and understand the mechanics around monetization, loot boxes, and other things in our games before they go to market. For games that come next, for Battlefield or for Anthem, players made it very clear that we can’t afford to make similar mistakes. And we won’t.
It’s clear to us that players see the company differently than we do. And in that situation, as a member of the executive team, as the guy who runs all of the studios, I have to take that seriously. And we have to continue to listen and understand what’s triggering that. We have to be very cautious of what we do.
We have to take action and show people that we’re serious about building the best possible products, that we’re serious about treating the players fair, and we’re here to make the best possible entertainment that we can. And in the cases where we don’t get it right, we just have to listen and learn from it and be better.
The first big test for this new policy will be this year's Battlefield, rumored to be set in World War II. The title should be properly revealed during the EA Play Press Conference at E3 2018, scheduled to take place at 11 a.m. PDT on Saturday, June 9th, 2018.