EA: They’re not loot boxes, they’re "surprise mechanics", and they’re "quite ethical"

20 June, 2019, 18:43 | Author: Sammy Rose
  • EA: They’re not loot boxes, they’re

In defence of the "loot box" idea, EA has made a decision to say that these randomised purchases shouldn't be called loot boxes at all but should instead be known as "surprise mechanics" and likened to Kinder Eggs. When asked about "lootboxes", Hopkins came up with a new and quite novel name for them: "Surprise mechanics". "If you go to...a store that sells a lot of toys, and you do a search for surprise toys, what you'll find is that this is something people enjoy, they enjoy surprises".

In response to questions from Scottish National Party MP, Brendan O'Hara, Hopkins says "We 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".

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Whether it's a loot box or not, Hopkins defended the system to the committee comparing these systems to the mechanics of surprise toys, which have been around "for years, whether it's Kinder Eggs, or Hatchimals, or LOL Surprise". This was then all wrapped up with EA stating that it agrees with the United Kingdom and Australian gambling commissions that these kind of microtransactions "aren't gambling" and "disagree that the evidence shows it leads to gambling". A seemingly workshopped explanation to continue using mechanics that often rely on players having to spend real money to hopefully unlock a decent item only to continue the cycle when such a drop is nowhere to be found. Electronic Arts sparked this outcry when its loot boxes in 2017's Star Wars: Battlefront 2 took things a step too far, and ever since then, a number of governments around the world have been taking a closer look at loot boxes to figure out if they're a form of gambling.

You can listen to the full testimony starting at the 15:45 point in the Parliament proceedings replay.

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