During the UBS Global Technology Conference 2017 in San Francisco, Electronic Arts Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen talked about Star Wars Battlefront II, microtransactions and live services in general.
Jorgensen admitted that there has been “a lot of chatter” about microtransactions in the game. He explained that what Electronic Arts is really doing is trying to build a live service that will constantly add content to the game, giving people new ways to play.
Players can earn things in the game, or they can pay for them. The important thing to know is that Electronic Arts is trying to listen to the community, and to all the feedback that they’re giving. Games nowadays can be constantly tuned, so things that EA “hears today, and they tune into the game, will be different tomorrow.”
According to Jorgensen running a live service is “all about constantly watching, listening to, and reacting to the community to try to develop great gameplay.”
Jorgensen also thinks that “people need to be patient, but also really understand” that EA listens to the community very closely, and they will always be changing the game to make it better and make the community more excited about playing it.
EA thinks first and foremost about “engagement” in its games: if they can keep people engaged in something they love, they can find ways to “improve their experience and monetize that along the way.” According to Jorgensen, the consumer “doesn’t mind that” as they are getting a chance to “go deeper and spend longer with the game than they ever did before,” and they can play a game for three or four years as the developers keep adding content.
Live events have also become “an incredible and enjoyable feature” for customers, Jorgensen continues, as they don’t talk anymore about “playing the game” as much as “playing the live services.” This is the direction the whole industry is going, and EA feels that it’s “incredible value” for the consumer and a lot of fun engaging with the game.
About the Star Wars franchise, Jorgensen mentioned that it’s such a big franchise that you can do “a bit of everything with it.” Respawn is creating an action game, the current mobile game is EA’s most successful on the platform, another Star Wars mobile game is being developed, Battlefront II is an FPS. We’ll probably see other Star Wars games come over the next few years, as EA will be able to use more content from the movies, more characters, more locations and more situations.
They’ll also continue to try build live services on existing games. Jorgensen keeps track of server utilization, and Battlefield 4 is still one of the most played games, consistently in the top-ten despite being four years old. He feels that if EA “had a live service on it, they could keep people engaged, give them even more to play with, and they’d also most likely be able to monetize them over time.”
During the same conference, Jorgensen also talked about the acquisition of Respawn Entertainment, and the possibility of further studio purchases.
If you want to read more about Star Wars: Battlefront II, you can also enjoy our preliminary review.