Patrick Söderlund has a heck of a job in front of him to change people’s perception of EA.
By Shabana Arif
After the loot box controversy surrounding Star Wars Battlefront 2, EA’s Patrick Söderlund has said the company has learned from “those mistakes,” and promises to “be better” going forward.
“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,” he said in an interview with The Verge. “We can shy away from it and pretend like it didn’t happen, or we can act responsibly and realise that we made some mistakes, and try to rectify those mistakes and learn from them.”
Following a restructure of EA’s executive team, Söderlund has stepped into the role of chief design officer, a position that “will expand his reach and drive greater impact in a new executive leadership position.” EA announced that microtransactions would be returning to Battlefront 2 this week, and Söderlund explained the company “got it wrong” the first time, resulting in microtransactions being pulled from the game just hours before its launch.
“People seem to appreciate what we’ve done, players are coming back, and we’re seeing stronger engagement numbers,” he said. “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.”
Söderlund says the loot box controversy has given EA the opportunity to reevaluate “the mechanics around monetisation” and that they’re “serious about treating the players fair.”
“It’s clear to us that players see the company differently than we do,” he said, possibly referencing the fact EA has previously won the award for the Worst Company In America. “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.”
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