Electronic Arts is under fire once again, and today proves that the company is out of touch with reality and what consumers want in their video games. A new video showcases the downright dastardly tactics used to lure in customers.
If there’s any moment that stands out in recent memory, it’s when Star Wars Battlefront II faced extreme backlash for its loot boxes. The game failed because of EA’s greed and hasn’t been able to recover from the pushback from consumers. Deservedly so, I believe, because it looks like EA hasn’t learned from that blunder.
According to EA’s Kerry Hopkins, the VP of legal and government affairs, loot boxes aren’t actually loot boxes, and instead are surprise mechanics akin to Hatchimals for children. Speaking to the UK Parliament’s Digital Culture, Media, and Sports Committee, Hopkins expressed this notion and compared loot boxes to Kinder Surprise Eggs.
EA's VP of legal and government affairs refuses to use the term 'lootboxes' in favor of 'surprise mechanics', compares them to Kinder Eggs, says they are not gambling and 'quite ethical'https://t.co/IbRqMwvJea pic.twitter.com/bJ8t3Fkib6
— Nibel (@Nibellion) June 19, 2019
When pressed by Brendan O’Hara, Scottish National Party MP, 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.”
She goes on to agree with the UK Gambling Commission, and then states that EA does not consider surprise mechanics to be gambling, “and we also disagree that there’s evidence that shows it leads to gambling.” Which is a claim that’s already been disproven thanks to Belgian law, as well as in The Netherlands, which have both banned loot boxes under their respective country’s gambling laws. In those countries, EA’s backed off and removed the sale of loot boxes, to comply with the laws.
Pressed further by officials on how gaming companies are culpable for loot boxes sellers, using third party sites to sell accounts for real money, Hopkins classified those people as being “Bad Guys,” and these people are the problem, not the surprise mechanics.
“The packs, the surprise—that’s fun for people,” she said. “They like earning the packs, opening the packs, building the teams, trading the teams.”
A representative for Epic Games was present and when questioned about the same mechanics in their massive hit Fortnite, the council admitted Epic did not have any way to prevent people overspending.
“We don’t have a mechanism in place that automatically sets limits on that. I don’t think it’s our responsibility to determine how much players should play Fortnite,” said Epic Games representative Canon Pence.