Did you think EA had maybe learned its lesson from the whole Star Wars Battlefront lockbox meltdown back in 2017, when the uproar over the game’s abusive and greedy monetization was so widespread that it ultimately tipped actual world governments into legislating video game gambling?
If so, I have a surprise for you. A “surprise mechanic,” if you will. I’m not even gonna charge you for it.
EA VP of legal and government affairs Kerry Hopkins spoke before the UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee today to inform said committee that EA’s lockboxes are all above board, ethical, and fun. No shenanigans here, no sir.
“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. […] 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.”
You know, products like *checks notes* “Kinder Eggs, or Hatchimals, or LOL Surprise.” Which are also garbage gambleboxes aimed at children, lurking on every damn shop endcap, the bane of parents everywhere. This is why we can’t have nice things.
Then again, this is the company that insisted its awful business model was intended to give SWBF players a “sense of pride and accomplishment.” So this kind of spin isn’t exactly unprecedented.
Incidentally, earlier today we published a piece covering the latest research on the topic, which found a connection between gambling addiction and lootbox purchases in adolescents – a connection even stronger than that previously found for adults.