Home Gaming EA says its Star Wars: Battlefront 2 lootboxes “are not gambling”

EA says its Star Wars: Battlefront 2 lootboxes “are not gambling”

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Lootboxes (and their associated microtransactions) are a contentious issue. While many appear to have no issues at all with the system (judging from how much money they make for game publishers), some find them analogous to gambling. In Belgium, any sort of gambling – digital or not – needs to have a permit from the country’s gaming commission. They’re now investigating whether Star Wars Battlefront II (and Overwatch) lootboxes are akin to gambling (via PGamesN)

“If there is a game of chance, it is not possible without a permit from the Gaming Commission,” says Belgian Gaming Commission director Peter Naessen. Should E and Blizzard be found to be using gambling systems in their games, they could be subject to fine of “hundreds of thousands of Euros,” and the games could be removed from sale.

Belgium’s gaming commission’s charter specifically says it want to protect people from the addictive nature of gambling, which lootboxes of this ilk prey on.

“Games of chance cannot be compared to any other kind of economic services. They may cause people to become addicted to gambling and cause them to lose a great deal of money. For this reason, a number of protective measures have been implemented to protect players against these sorts of potential risks.”

EA has released a statement saying that its lootboxes aren’t gambling, though. Here’s what EA has to say (via Gamespot)

“Creating a fair and fun game experience is of critical importance to EA. The crate mechanics of Star Wars Battlefront II are not gambling. A player’s ability to succeed in the game is not dependent on purchasing crates. Players can also earn crates through playing the game and not spending any money at all. Once obtained, players are always guaranteed to receive content that can be used in game.”

That sort of rhetoric matches the ESRB’s, who asserted that lootboxes aren’t gambling:

“ESRB does not consider loot boxes to be gambling,” an ESRB spokesperson said “While there’s an element of chance in these mechanics, the player is always guaranteed to receive in-game content (even if the player unfortunately receives something they don’t want). We think of it as a similar principle to collectible card games: Sometimes you’ll open a pack and get a brand new holographic card you’ve had your eye on for a while. But other times you’ll end up with a pack of cards you already have.”

Last Updated: November 16, 2017

70 Comments

  1. Raptor Rants

    November 16, 2017 at 09:13

    Loot boxes are not gambling. I think this has been covered.
    What needs to happen here is that a decision needs to happen as to whether lootboxes in a already full paid game should be legal or not.

    EA already admitted that they reduced the amount of cash you earn in-game for lootboxes in favour of rather dropping cash. So they then can’t spin the whole “You can earn it all in-game without hassle” nonsense.

    People should not be trying to label it as gambling but rather take on another angle. The gambling argument is going to fall face flat.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a3eb33cce83f5642a344b5266c7bde8f0e93b5b44528cc64df896857295ea2e4.jpg

    Reply

    • Kikmi

      November 16, 2017 at 09:16

      Can’t choose what is legal in a product you’ve bought, to be fair the publisher can change any aspect of the game (or software) according to most EULAs. Need stricter consumer biased laws, not necessarily trying to arbitrate corporates for “sold as is” products

      Reply

      • Raptor Rants

        November 16, 2017 at 09:25

        Agreed. But something needs to be done. And what should be done? Easy – Consumers must stop buying in to these things. Simple as that.

        But people refuse to give up any luxury of any kind. People will rather buy and experience the game than stick by their standards and not buy. And there-in lies the problem. People refuse to give up their perceived “right to game”

        Reply

        • Ottokie

          November 16, 2017 at 09:26

          Easiest way to fight cheaters. Give them an advantage in game for a price.

          Reply

        • Original Heretic

          November 16, 2017 at 10:02

          I like this little rant you got going here.
          This is a nice rant.

          I give it 7 stars.

          Reply

          • Raptor Rants

            November 16, 2017 at 10:03

            *cries*

          • Praise KEK

            November 16, 2017 at 11:07

            are you going to cry 6 more times today?

          • Raptor Rants

            November 16, 2017 at 12:08

            ……

          • Admiral Chief

            November 16, 2017 at 10:12

            Oh my, someone call the whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaambulance for the 7th degree burn

        • Kikmi

          November 16, 2017 at 10:18

          No, its not the consumers responsibility not to get fucked over. Legislation and regulation is the only way to put fat cat corporates. Look at what happened to oil companies, enron and the like.

          Reply

          • Original Heretic

            November 16, 2017 at 10:18

            Yeah, they made shitloads of money.

          • Magoo

            November 16, 2017 at 10:27

            Right you are. People will never be able to collectively abstain from a practice like this. You know it, I know it, they know it, everyone knows it. That’s not an option on the list of solutions to this here problem.

          • Raptor Rants

            November 16, 2017 at 10:50

            “No, its not the consumers responsibility not to get fucked over”
            One has to take responsibility if you buy something you know is going to do you in. Lootboxes were in the early reviews and people were complaining before the game was launched.

            People have to then take the logical step and decision of not buying a product they know will have these features.

            Yes, the overall issue has to be tackled with legislation to protect consumers. 100% agree. But when you knowingly buy in to something you know has these features you are not exactly being smart or helping the situation any. Instead you are helping to fuel the success of these practices.

    • Ottokie

      November 16, 2017 at 09:20

      • Raptor Rants

        November 16, 2017 at 09:22

        The argument has already been lost because in gambling you have a chance on getting nothing. Loot crates you are guaranteed to get something.

        So while I agree it’s really close to gambling and to me it smells like gambling, but the argument has already been lost on the fact that you will get something when you put something in. It’s not a risk as you will receive something.

        I hate the counter argument, but it is, sadly, sound. Hence people need a new angle here.

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief

          November 16, 2017 at 09:33

          If it looks like poop, smells like poop, it can’t be chocolate

          Reply

          • Guz

            November 16, 2017 at 09:59

            Even if you polish it?

          • Original Heretic

            November 16, 2017 at 10:00

            Why would the nationality of the poop make a difference?

          • Admiral Chief

            November 16, 2017 at 10:11

            Belgian chocolate is terrible, so Belgian poop might be more terrible than the standard version of poop

        • HvR

          November 16, 2017 at 10:43

          In South Africa and most countries (outside of gaming) it is still gambling otherwise casinos can just gaurentee payout (say 10% of input) and by pass all licenses and regulations.

          Reply

        • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

          November 16, 2017 at 11:56

          “Loot crates you are guaranteed to get something.”

          We are talking about binary code. 1’s and 0’s displayed on a screen. It’s not tangible. Therefore it’s nothing. Only your perception of it.

          So you get sweet f-all out of ANY lootbox.

          This is worse than gambling. We need a new word for this.

          Stuping.. No
          Gampiding… No.

          Stupid.. Hmmm

          Reply

  2. Kikmi

    November 16, 2017 at 09:14

    Can i charge EA for detached retina, cos my eye rolls are getting a bit out of hand here

    Reply

    • Original Heretic

      November 16, 2017 at 09:34

      You get my vote for comment of the week!

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief

        November 16, 2017 at 09:57

        Pure gold that one

        Reply

        • Original Heretic

          November 16, 2017 at 09:59

          Too bad EA only likes green.

          Reply

          • Admiral Chief

            November 16, 2017 at 10:08

            BLUE/RED/GREEN choices, they chose green

    • Guz

      November 16, 2017 at 09:56

      Make sure you charge them twice, once for each eye 😉

      Reply

      • Raptor Rants

        November 16, 2017 at 10:02

        and include some Microtransactions for some coloured lenses. At least one of them must have a digital hub to give you real life bonuses.

        Reply

      • Original Heretic

        November 16, 2017 at 10:03

        They took their inspiration from old pirate movies. They heard someone say “aye aye”.

        Reply

        • HvR

          November 16, 2017 at 10:33

    • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

      November 16, 2017 at 10:34

      Sue them for every penny

      Reply

    • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

      November 16, 2017 at 11:50

      Or… Out of socket…

      I’ll leave now.

      Reply

  3. Alien Emperor Trevor

    November 16, 2017 at 09:18

    I’ll give them it’s technically not gambling, in the sense of a gambling game. Yet for the purchaser of a loot box it is a gamble whether or not they get what they want when they open it. And then EA (and all the rest of them for that matter) gambols all the way to the bank when people buy more in an attempt to get what they want. Because allowing the player to be able to just buy the cosmetic or non-game changing (tee hee!) card they want would be less profitable than RNG gambles.

    Reply

    • Magoo

      November 16, 2017 at 10:09

      Exactly. The fact that you can’t opt for purchasing what you want for a fixed price means that they are clearly making more money this way and won’t let you. You are a loser and even though it’s not “technically” gambling, you are effectively going through the same emotional and financial stress that a gambler goes through.

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief

        November 16, 2017 at 10:12

        ^^^

        Reply

  4. Ottokie

    November 16, 2017 at 09:27

    These corporate pigs can say what they want. There is probably big money flying under the table for the ESRB to keep this gambling practice going.

    Reply

  5. Ottokie

    November 16, 2017 at 09:33

    Belgium seems to be the only competent place on earth right now.

    Reply

  6. Magoo

    November 16, 2017 at 10:05

    If that incoherent, logic bashing excuse for a statement is all that they could trudge up, they are already starting to lose.

    Reply

  7. Lord Chaos

    November 16, 2017 at 10:17

    In other news: EA denies the sky is blue.

    Reply

    • Magoo

      November 16, 2017 at 10:23

      Well, it “technically” isn’t.

      Reply

      • Original Heretic

        November 16, 2017 at 10:24

        When did you start working for EA? Where do you live? What’s your name? What kind of poison are you most allergic to?

        Reply

        • Magoo

          November 16, 2017 at 10:28

          $5 for that info. $7 to include update on that info in a month’s time

          Reply

  8. Ottokie

    November 16, 2017 at 10:31

    • Magoo

      November 16, 2017 at 10:34

      Unfortunately we are collectively too dumb a species to rely on logical reasoning over technical reasoning.

      Reply

    • Dresden

      November 16, 2017 at 10:45

      I’ve sold some items on PUBG to fund my Steam games 😀

      Reply

  9. Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

    November 16, 2017 at 10:35

    Hundreds of thousands of euros in fines. Hahahahaha

    That’s how EA would react. Tuck shop money

    Reply

    • HvR

      November 16, 2017 at 10:40

      They probably try pay the fine in Battlefront lootboxes and credits

      Reply

  10. Kapitan Balalaika

    November 16, 2017 at 10:39

    That EA statement sounds like something I would expect from a Freemium game. I’ve played a Freemium game before on mobile, grinding to unlock a character then upgrade their gears and equip them with specific/special item is no fun when it takes weeks and everything is randomised popping out of crates bought with in-game currency and real money.

    Reply

    • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

      November 16, 2017 at 12:02

      Ever tried the Jurassic Park builder games? Fucking horrific

      Reply

  11. Dresden

    November 16, 2017 at 10:41

    Using the same logic, I’m going to open up a new type of restaurant.
    I’m going to sell LootPlatters™ and this is how it works:

    For R150 you buy a LootPlatter™. In it, there can be a variety of dishes ranging from a mouldy piece of fish paste toast (80% drop rate) to a Beluga Caviar platter(0.5-1% drop rate).

    It’s fair because you have a “chance” of eating that fancy dish you’ve always wanted at a fraction of the price and it’s not forced on you because you can always eat somewhere else if you really want to.

    Reply

  12. jlenoconel

    November 16, 2017 at 10:58

    They’re not gambling? Here’s another lie, I’m definitely buying this game when it’s released. I just love getting shafted by AAA gaming companies.

    Reply

  13. Praise KEK

    November 16, 2017 at 10:59

    Seems more like EA has turned into the Gupta’s of the gaming world. Disgusting.

    Reply

  14. Francois Knoetze

    November 16, 2017 at 11:05

    and DeNILE is not just a river in Egypt…

    Reply

  15. Allykhat

    November 16, 2017 at 11:24

    People are still buying this game though… and people ARE buying the lootboxes….

    I can’t wait for the day I see someone moaning about the death of gaming due to MTs and Lootboxes only to see Battlefront 2 in their games list…

    Oh the salt I shall bestow upon them. My salt cannon is ready.

    I. Can. Not. Wait.

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief

      November 16, 2017 at 11:30

      My salt cannon is ready too

      Reply

    • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

      November 16, 2017 at 11:53

      As long as the salt is rubbed, vigorously, into an open wound.

      Reply

  16. Captain JJ

    November 17, 2017 at 08:09

    That’s true, the real gamble is buying an EA game.

    Reply

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