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EA CEO's damage control speech: “We want to be better”

Andrew Wilson stresses that publisher does not want to give paying players unfair advantages following last year's loot box fiasco

The shadow of loot boxes hung heavy over the Electronic Arts press conference this afternoon, and the publisher's chief exec attempted to reassure gamers (once again) that it has learned its lesson.

The controversy surrounding the monetisation of randomised item drops in Star Wars Battlefront II has been well documented, with design director Dennis Bräanvall reiterating that "clearly we got it wrong" before he detailed new content heading to the shooter this summer.

Similarly, the developers of both Anthem and Battlefield V had to clearly state their games do not feature loot boxes or random items - although they will both, of course, feature microtransactions for cosmetics and customisation options.

Before the in-depth preview of Anthem, CEO Andrew Wilson attempted to revive some goodwill for the publisher by assuring players that Electronic Arts is doing its best to move past the recent fiasco.

"We are always trying to learn and listen, and strive to be better," he said. "As you look at the ten experiences today, and as you play our games, there's some things we hope come through.

"First, that at the very core is choice. That you as players get to choose how you play, what you play, when you play and what devices you play on. That in making those choices you feel you are treated fairly, that no one is given an unfair advantage or disadvantage for how they choose to play.

"That for every moment you invest - we know you put so much of your life into the games we make - and that for every moment you invest, you feel like you are rewarded and given value for that investment. And most importantly that the games are fun, that we move past the grind and that these are experiences that truly enhance your lives.

"As we think through all that we try to do, know that we want to be better and we want to make great games."

The most obvious thing to pull out is the emphasis on 'unfair advantages', which the monetisation system seen in Battlefront II's beta version would have most definitely provided.

EA DICE has since overhauled the progression system completely to ensure any loot box items are purely cosmetic, but there's still an air of distrust among gamers when it comes to the publisher's plans to monetise its titles.

Wilson's speech led into a recap of the publisher's recent charity drive Play To Give, in which players compete in in-game challenges and EA promises to donate to various organisations based on their accomplishments.

This year, the publisher split $1 million between three charities: the United Nations' gender equality project HeForShe, Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center and anti-bullying campaign Ditch The Label.

Wilson said the three charities "share our vision for a more inclusive world, where equality and representation are not something we strive for but are the standard."

You can catch up on everything from today's press conference right here.