EA’s implementation of loot boxes has become a topic under plenty of fire for now. Kerry Hopkins, EA’s VP of legal and government affairs, insists that the company’s random purchases aren’t loot boxes, but rather “surprise mechanics”. Hopkins, in an oral evidence session with the UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media or Sport Committee, compares the mechanics to surprise toys which have been around for years, whether its Kinder Eggs, Hatchimals, or LOL surprises.
The pushback against Battlefront 2 loot boxes was so intense that EA worked again on the entire system. The wild popularity of the FIFA Ultimate Team definitely means that it has gotten scrutiny even from governmental organizations.
After uprising questions from Scottish National Party MP, Brendan O’Hara, in a response, Hopkins said “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.” “We do agree with the UK gambling commission, the Australian gambling commission, and many other gambling commissions that they aren’t gambling, and we also disagree that there’s evidence that shows it leads to gambling. Instead, we think it’s like many other products that people enjoy in a healthy way, and like the element of surprise.”
This obviously means that EA doesn’t agree with the anti-loot box stance took by Belgian and Dutch regulators. “They decided – the regulator, not the courts – decided that under their local law, these mechanics under certain circumstances violate the law.”
It was announced earlier this year about the UK government on gaming. It concerns much more than just loot boxes, it concerns everything, right from game addiction to the ways the government can support the VR industry. The results from any legislative action taken remain to be seen.