EA seems to be struggling lately. Not financially, they’re doing okay in that area . No, they seem to be struggling with loot boxes. No matter how hard they try, people seem reluctant to let them put unregulated gambling into their games.
As if the Belgian Game Commission calling loot boxes illegal wasn’t bad enough , now two French lawyers have piled on. Two entirely separate lawsuits have been filed in France against EA . These lawsuits claim that FIFA features gambling mechanics.
Of course they do, and EA knows it.
All of this opposition really should make EA think twice about loot boxes. So far, it doesn’t seem to have worked out that way. Instead, they’ve doubled down on them. They also insist they be referred to as “surprise mechanics.”
As we all know, referring to something with a different name makes them less illegal and immoral. Like when you rename an illegal casino for minors to a ‘children’s game corner.’
The lawsuits currently being leveled at EA are due to players who spent over $650 dollars on the Ultimate Team mode. According to the clients in these lawsuits, it is entirely possible to spend excessive amounts of money and get no decent players. And that is exactly the way that EA likes it.
EA wants you addicted to opening those packs, and as long as you can buy them with real money, any element of randomness makes them gambling.
There’s long been an argument that since you can’t sell the components of a loot box, it doesn’t count. That is complete garbage. It seems clear that the contents have value to the people buying them, or they wouldn’t buy them.
To quote futurist John Naisbitt,
Value is what people are willing to pay for it.
If people are paying out hundreds of euros for the contents of these packs, that is what they’re worth. Therefore, loot boxes are gambling.