Loot boxes are not loot boxes according to EA’s vice president of legal and government affairs, Kerry Hopkins.
Speaking at an oral presentation with the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in the UK Parliament, Hopkins responded to a question about loot boxes and whether they are an ethical feature with this gem:
“Well first, we don’t call them loot boxes. We look at it as surprise mechanics,” said Hopkins.
“If you go to a – I don’t know what your version of Target is – but a store that sells a lot of toys and you do a search for ‘surprise toys’ what you will find is that this is something that people enjoy, people enjoy surprises. It’s something that has been part of toys for years whether it’s Kinder eggs, Hatchimals or LOL Surprise,” Hopkins added.
While we don’t disagree with Hopkins we’re going to say that this sort of comparison is chalk and cheese. For instance, a person purchases a Kinder egg expecting a surprise, they aren’t expecting to open the egg and then be asked to pay a smaller fee in a bid to get a particular toy.
Saying that folks enjoy being asked to spend more money after forking out R900 for a product that has been striped to encourage microtransactions is not the same as a Kinder egg, Hopkins, come on now.
Addressing whether loot boxes are ethical, Hopkins had this to say.
“We do think the way we have implemented these kind of mechanics – and FIFA of course is our big one, our FIFA Ultimate Team and our packs – is actually quite ethical and quite fun, 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,” said Hopkins.
As for what Belgium and the Netherlands had to say about loot boxes (they are banned in those countries), Hopkins says it’s a matter of the laws in those countries and those laws differ from other countries which form part of the European Federation of Gambling Regulators had decided.
So there you have it, they aren’t loot boxes they are surprise mechanics and they are ethical, at least if you put any weight behind what EA has to say.
You can watch the full archive of the oral presentation over on the the UK Parliament website.[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]