Update: EA has officially announced that all progression will now be earned through gameplay, at least for now. We're hearing that loot boxes are staying, but that you can't purchase them with real money. It's unclear how EA will address microtransactions long-term. Here is the full statement from EA's official Twitter account.
Today, we turned off in-game purchases for #StarWarsBattlefrontII. The game is built on your input, and it will continue to evolve and grow. Read the full update: https://t.co/asGASaYXVp pic.twitter.com/vQSOmsWRgk— EAStarWars (@EAStarWars) November 17, 2017
Original Story: After a whirlwind week of EA defending its contentious loot box practices in the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront 2, the company will reportedly change Star Wars Battlefront 2 so its progression is no longer driven in part by microtransactions.
Rumors began circulating Thursday afternoon that EA was going to announce an update to loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront 2. Soon after, players in early access found that "crystals"—the in-game currency for the game which players can purchase with real money—were no longer available. This means that all monetary transactions in Battlefront 2 have ceased.
We've heard from sources within EA that a statement will be going out soon.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 has been dogged by controversy ever since the beta for the game revealed that winnable Star Cards gave players stat boosts that improved their performance in competitive multiplayer modes. Since these cards could be won by purchasing loot boxes with real money, players accused EA of promoting pay to win tactics that gave customers who paid extra an advantage.
EA responded by changing the progression system of the game and altering what kind of cards could be won in loot boxes. But the controversy persisted.
However, earlier this week it was discovered that unlocking a hero character like Luke Skywalker could cost 60,000 in-game credits. Some fans have reported that it would take 40 hours of game time to earn that many credits for a single unlockable character. EA responded by cutting the cost of unlocking these characters by 75 percent, to 15,000 credits.
None of these changes have stopped gamers from protesting Battlefront 2. Angry commenters suggested that it would take six years to unlock everything in the game through progression along, something EA also denied.
Some have even petitioned their local governments to investigate whether these loot box practices are gambling, something EA and the ESRB firmly deny. However, the Belgian government's gambling regulatory board said it would investigate whether loot boxes in Battlefront 2 and Overwatch were indeed gambling.
Ultimately, EA's decision comes after a firestorm week that severely affected the game's reputation amongh potential buyers. The fact that EA will potentially respond by removing the entire microtransaction element is proof that the dialogue had become dangerous for the game.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 is out on Friday, November 17 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.