EA is changing its game development strategy to avoid another loot box controversy. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

When Electronic Arts released “Star Wars: Battlefront 2” last year, it was surrounded by controversy due to the “pay-to-win” nature of its loot boxes. Because of this, EA now says that it’s planning to change it strategy on how it develops its games.

In an interview with GameIndustry.biz, EA vice president of strategic growth Matt Bilbey was asked directly about loot boxes and how it’s now under scrutiny from the Belgian Gaming Commission. Loot boxes play a large role in EA’s growth since it’s available on a lot of its games, including the video game publisher’s FIFA series.

“I believe what we're working through with those specific groups at the moment is an education. Not meant in a patronizing way, but just helping them understand how we design the games and the notion of choice and our commitment to making the games fair and fun. We learned a lot from ‘Star Wars: Battlefront,’” Bilbey said.

The topic then shifted to the “Star Wars : Battlefront 2” controversy, when the developer had to pull out loot boxes from the game at launch after receiving heavy criticism from the gaming community. Bilbey was asked on how EA is planning to avoid making the same mistake in its future games.

“I ran a team internally with Patrick [EA chief design officer Patrick Soderlund] post-Battlefront to actually redesign our game development framework and testing platforms to ensure we're giving our game teams the right guidance--we'll call it an EA moral compass--at the beginning of development so that we're designing our live service early, we're testing it early, testing it with gamers who are giving us feedback so we ensure those pillars of fairness, value, and fun are true,” Bilbey said.

This “EA moral compass” that Bilbey spoke of may have also been the reason why EA’s upcoming firs-person shooter, “Battlefront V,” won’t feature any loot boxes or even a premium/season pass. However, “Battlefront V” is still expected to make a lot of money from microtransactions since the game will still allow players to buy cosmetic items to customize their avatars, as pointed out by GameSpot.

Loot boxes are now a standard in modern video games. A lot of other video game publishers use this as a business model to keep money flowing for months or even years after a game’s initial release. The big problem with “Battlefront 2” loot boxes was that it affected gameplay and provided perks that made it easier for people to win matches. EA and its developer studio DICE have already brought back loot boxes to “Battlefront 2,” but now it only allows players to buy cosmetic items only.