EA Calls Loot Boxes “Surprises Mechanics” To Dodge Gambling Controversy

“We don’t call them loot boxes”, they’re “surprise mechanics”.
EA defends its stance on loot boxes in front UK parliament, saying "it's not gambling."
EA defends its stance on loot boxes in front UK parliament, saying "it's not gambling." Electronic Arts

Gaming industry giant Electronic Arts presented itself at UK Parliament earlier this week to defend its stance on loot boxes and microtransactions.

Kerry Hopkins, the Vice President of Legal and Government Affairs at Electronic Arts, presented the company’s randomized lootbox and microtransaction-heavy systems as “surprise mechanics” akin to surprise toys like Kinder Eggs and Hatchimals, where you never you know what’s inside when you buy.

When questioned by Brendan O’Hara, Member of Parliament with the Scottish National Party, Hopkins answered “[w]e do think the way that we have implemented these kinds of mechanics – and FIFA of course is our big one, our FIFA Ultimate Team and our packs – is actually quite ethical and quite fun, quite enjoyable to people.”

EA has been under a lot of fire for a while now because of the way it implements loot boxes and microtransactions in its games. Apart from the heavy community backlash, especially after the microtransaction-heavy release of Star Wars: Battlefront II, Electronic Arts has also been under government and regulatory pressure for being accused of implementing gambling in their games through paid lootboxes and randomized microtransactions. With the announcement that their upcoming game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will be free of microtransactions, many in the community had thought EA had learned its lesson regarding MTX, but this recent development shows that apparently EA hasn’t.

The government of the United Kingdom announced earlier this year that it would be conducting a full-scale investigation into the video game industry, not just with loot boxes and gambling but with regards to video game addiction, violence, and government support for technology as well. Unlike the U.K., some governments have already taken a firm stance on loot boxes. In particular, the government regulation commissions of Belgium and the Netherlands have ruled that EA’s loot box mechanics violate the law and promote gambling.

The entire face-off was broadcast live in UK Parliament, which you can watch in its entirety on their official website, beginning at the 15:43:15 mark. (Thanks, PCGamesN!)

What do you think about EA’s stance on loot boxes and randomized microtransactions? Do you think EA’s loot mechanics are “quite ethical” and “quite fun” as their representatives say? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Join the Discussion
Top Stories