EA Defends Loot Boxes, Calls Them ‘Surprise Mechanics’
EA has defended the company’s use of randomised purchases, saying that they aren’t actually loot boxes, but simply “surprise mechanics”.
PCGamesN reports that during an oral evidence session with the UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee, EA’s VP of legal and government affairs, Kerry Hopkins, made the statement.
Hopkins not only termed purchases with a random result as “surprise mechanics”, but also likened them to children toys like Kinder Surprise Eggs or Hatchimals.
Hopkins then went on to speak as to the ethics of such purchases when questioned by Scottish National Party MP, Brendan O’Hara.
“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,” Hopkins said.
“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,” she added. “Instead, we think it’s like many other products that people enjoy in a healthy way, and like the element of surprise.”
No matter what you call them, loot boxes have been a big issue with many countries making decisions about their legality in recent years. Dutch and Belgium regulators recently joined the Netherlands declaring some loot boxes illegal which even saw companies like Nintendo remove games from the Belgium mobile market.
EA commented on Belgium’s decision during the session saying “They decided – the regulator, not the courts – decided that under their local law, these mechanics under certain circumstances violate the law.”
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