Home Gaming Loot boxes? Please, EA prefers “ethical surprise mechanics”

Loot boxes? Please, EA prefers “ethical surprise mechanics”

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Providing testimony to the UK parliament regarding the implementation of blind loot boxes, EA has shared some rather choice words in its attempt to rebrand.

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Hey, did you know you’ve been thinking about loot boxes wrong this whole time? Nah, they’re not super predatory mechanics used to fuel an addictive loop and convince people, primarily children, to burn cash in the hopes of actually finding a good item. That’s so harsh, bro. Such as the train of thought presumably being followed by EA’s marketing division as they fed Kerry Hopkins, the VP of legal and government affairs for EA, the script for her to read out during her testimony regarding how loot boxes are totally misunderstood.

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During an oral evidence session with the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee for the UK parliament, Hopkins insisted that these randomised item packages are “surprise mechanics” and have been utilised by brands for years. She cites Kinder Eggs, a small chocolaty sweet that also contains a random toy in the packaging and Hatchimals, a brand of toy that comes hidden in an egg that requires must open to see the contents. She insists that these kinds of systems have been used by companies for years now insinuating that there is nothing remarkable or unusual with the implementation of loot boxes in video games.

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When questioned on the use these mechanics in FIFA Ultimate Team, a digital collectable card game where players can earn new team members by unlocking them through loot boxes, Hopkins stated “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 further, clarifying EA’s stance on the matter by saying, ““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”.

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It’s…a hot take, to say the least. 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. The discussion of loot boxes and their ethical implementation started in earnest due to EA’s controversial use of the system in Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (2017) which saw many essential items necessary to effectively compete in the game locked behind randomised loot boxes. You can hear Hopkins’ full testimony here.

Last Updated: June 20, 2019

23 Comments

  1. PoisonedBelial

    June 20, 2019 at 08:04

    “During an oral evidence session with the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee for the UK parliament…”

    Does that mean they were watching her spew absolute horse shit?

    Reply

    • Pariah

      June 20, 2019 at 08:38

      I’m sitting here, stunned, as to just how much horseshit that really was. I’m used to PR spins and corporate speak – I work in corporate. This is on an entirely different level though. Fucking hell.

      Reply

  2. Kromas

    June 20, 2019 at 08:38

    Yeah like that one time that kid used his dads credit card and spent $3 000 on kinder suprise …… oh wait … no that was lootboxes in Fifa!

    Reply

  3. Yahtzee

    June 20, 2019 at 08:58

    It’s funny how EA (an american company) uses Kinder eggs as an example even though they are banned in the US because their gun slinging children kept choking on the toys inside.

    Reply

    • Guz

      June 20, 2019 at 08:58

      Exactly they are illegal cause you could maybe, possibly in very rare circumstance choke on the toy in side.. the only thing getting choked on, is the amount of BS they spewing

      Reply

  4. Guz

    June 20, 2019 at 08:59

    What a crock of s#!t

    Reply

  5. Original Heretic

    June 20, 2019 at 08:59

    Proof that lawyers are rats…

    Reply

  6. For the Emperor!

    June 20, 2019 at 08:15

    Big difference – the Kinder Eggs you pay for chocolate, and get a random toy. For yourself. No competing against someone else. When it is “pay to win”…it is bloody predatory!

    Now if they used Magic the Gathering as an example, it would be more plausible…

    Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      June 20, 2019 at 08:38

      Exactly. You’re buying the Kinder Egg when you buy FIFA. Buying the random loot boxes for FIFA is like buying something that affects the taste of your Kinder Egg.

      Reply

      • For the Emperor!

        June 20, 2019 at 08:38

        We should send that through to the commission so that they can hit her with that rebuttal!

        Reply

      • Guz

        June 20, 2019 at 08:58

        Pay now for a chance to unlock extra rainbow sprinkles!

        Reply

  7. Jacques Van Zyl

    June 20, 2019 at 09:21

    Kinder Eggs are illegal in many American states to protect the kids, that should say something about their predatory nature.

    Reply

  8. Lacko Packo

    June 20, 2019 at 17:36

    EA & ethics is oxymoron

    Reply

  9. Magoo

    June 20, 2019 at 13:46

    Well I for one did not know that there were ultra-rare items in Kinder eggs. That’s probably why people are always buying 100 of them at a time.

    Reply

  10. PoisonedBelial

    June 20, 2019 at 14:27

    Pretty sure that by “surprise mechanics” she meant “surprise butt sex” because that’s what loot boxes are: something that you’re surprised about being fucked by.

    Reply

  11. Lacko Packo

    June 20, 2019 at 17:36

    EA & ethics is oxymoron.
    Greed is eternal

    Reply

  12. Dresden

    June 20, 2019 at 22:01

    If she used a better comparison, say those Pokemon/DBZ tazos you got in chips back in the day, I would be way more likely to believe her.

    Reply

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