Electronic Arts appeared before the UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee this week, as EA defended the use of loot boxes and microtransactions in their games.
EA and Loot Boxes
In a meeting between the two parties, Electronic Arts’ Vice President of Legal Kerry Hopkins was asked about whether EA considers loot boxes to be ethical. She told the committee that the company does not refer to these transactions as “loot boxes” when developing their games. Hopkins, however, did refer to these transactions as “surprise mechanics” when speaking about them, and she bluntly said that people enjoy buying random content in video games.
“So if you go to…whatever your version of target is, but a store that sells a lot of toys, and you do a search for ‘surprise toys’, what you’ll find is that this is something that people enjoy. They enjoy surprises, and so it’s something that has been part of toys for years”
Hopkins later compared microtransactions to Kinder eggs, and that EA believes that the way this type of content is implemented is, in fact, ethical.
We’ve gone over in the past some of the controversy that surrounds microtransactions, as there have been numerous efforts to curb the usage of them. Ultimate Team has been a huge revenue generator for EA, so it’s no wonder that the company wants to continue to implement them in their games.
The big question is whether or not countries like the United Kingdom will pass legislation to ban them. Belgium has already declared loot boxes illegal, and other countries may follow suit. If that happens, then EA may have no choice but to change how they do business.
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