Electronic Arts is attempting to rebrand loot boxes following government scrutiny.
Since 2017, the games industry has come under increased scrutiny for the inclusion of loot boxes. There have been countless debates regarding them between the industry and the government. On one side, the government believes that they may be predatory gambling. On the other, the industry argues that they are not. As a result, companies such as Electronic Arts have recently begun an effort to rebrand them in the eyes of the government.
EA’s VP of Government and Legal Affairs Kerry Hopkins has provided us with insight into the publisher’s rebranding efforts. Hopkins recently testified before a United Kingdom committee to defend the loot boxes and micro transactions that are present in every EA published title. “Well first, we don’t call them lootboxes, we look at them as surprise mechanics,” Hopkins asserted. “If you go to…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 people enjoy, they enjoy surprises.”
Hopkins likens these loot boxes to Kinder Eggs before stating that Electronic Arts does stand firm in their belief that their approach “…is actually quite ethical and quite fun, [and] enjoyable to people.”
Twitter user Nibellion was able to compile a video of the relevant aspects of Hopkins’ testimony. You can watch that below:
While underage children may not find fault in loot boxes as they are often the target audience for them, others do. In 2017, Electronic Arts was bombarded with criticism from consumers following Battlefront II and its excessive usage of loot boxes. The publisher’s subsequent defense of the business model became one of the most downvoted comments on Reddit.
It is important to note that gamers are not alone in their concern about the games industry’s questionable practices. The United States government, more specifically US Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) announced a bill that would potentially outlaw loot boxes. The bill recently gained bipartisan support from Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). Whether the controversial bill will be passed into law is uncertain, but it is clear that the industry is doing everything it can to prevent the government from interfering in their daily operations.
What do you think of this news? Do you think loot boxes are gambling? Let us know in the comments below!