EA Reclassifies Loot Boxes as “Surprise Mechanics,” Calls Them “Ethical and Quite Fun”

The UK’s Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee confronted game company executives today in a discussion regarding immersive and addictive technologies. Representing EA was VP of legal and government affairs Kerry Hopkins, who clarified the publisher’s position on loot boxes.

“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 suggests that EA’s randomized purchases are the virtual equivalent of surprise toys for children (e.g., Kinder Eggs, Hatchimals, LOL Surprise dolls) and equally as innocent. The company’s official position is that they’re not only wanted by gamers, but also ethical.

“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.

The committee wasn’t amused by EA’s claims. Legislative action certainly remains possible.

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