Electronic Arts (EA) has, to say the least, had a history with loot boxes. In fact, it was the publisher’s Star Wars Battlefront 2 that got loot boxes to worldwide attention. And now, it looks like EA is trying a rebranding exercise by calling it something else. The new name of choice? Surprise mechanics.
Kerry Hopkins, VP of legal and government affairs, said that the company’s loot boxes are not called loot boxes, but “surprise mechanics”. She said as much during a session with the UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee. She also compared loot boxes to Kinder Eggs, stating that EA’s “surprise mechanics” are as fun and ethical as Kinder Eggs.
The answers came in response to questions from Brendan O’Hara, MP of the Scottish National Party. The basic takeaway is that EA thinks the way it implements loot boxes is ethical. O’Hara mentioned “whatever term you wish to apply to them” at the beginning to clarify, so there’s not much wiggle room for EA to argue semantics.
It’s actually quite amazing that EA is digging its heels in regarding this matter. This is despite the fact that Belgium and the Netherlands have already deemed them gambling, with many other gambling regulators scrutinising the entire situation.