EA calls loot boxes “surprise mechanics” to UK Parliament

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Eww.

EA has defended loot boxes to the UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee by calling the functionality “surprise mechanics”.

“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,” EA’s VP of Legal and Government Affairs, Kerry Hopkins, said in a recent meeting (with thanks to VG24/7). “Instead, we think it’s like many other products that people enjoy in a healthy way, and like the element of surprise.”

Hopkins later said that loot boxes are like “something that’s been part of toys for years, whether it’s Kinder Eggs, or Hatchimals, or LOL Surprise.”

The topic of loot boxes as gambling has reared its head many a time; America’s ESRB has already gone on record saying it doesn’t consider loot boxes as a form of gambling while the Belgium Gaming Commission says it does consider the items a form of gambling. Closer to home, New Zealand doesn’t and Australia pretty much doesn’t as well, even though an Aussie report linked loot boxes with gambling. A similar report in the UK did the same. Got all that?

What do you make of EA’s tactic here?