With the recent craze of Battle Royale games like PUBG and Fortnite, video games have gotten even more into the limelight. While loot boxes are a topic of heavy contention with different viewpoints, governments and regulatory bodies have their own stance about it. Because of this very recently members of the UK Parliament sat down with representatives of Epic Games and EA to hear their views on certain topics and let’s just say that some things that they said during it were quite interesting.
When asked about what the companies thought and felt about loot boxes and whether or not the companies think it is ethical, EA was the first to talk about it. According to the EA representative, EA doesn’t use the term “Loot Boxes” and instead call them “Surprise Mechanics”. She likened it to Kinder Eggs where you get a surprise regarding what’s inside and she stated that people enjoyed the element of surprise, especially players who play FIFA and Ultimate Team.
She further went on to state that the “Surprise Mechanics” were fun and quite enjoyable and says that she doesn’t believe in the fact that Loot Boxes or “Surprise Mechanics” lead to gambling. According to her, the way EA has implemented loot boxes in their games is 100% ethical and that they have no qualms about it.
Throughout the entire meeting when asked pressing questions, Epic Games were very deflective and evasive as they would beat around the bush instead of actually answering the question and were even called out by an MP who asked them if they were coached to answer because of how they responded to questions.
While some of the questions asked were alright, some of the questions that were asked made it quite clear that the person wasn’t well-versed with video games and didn’t know much about the companies and topic at hand besides a few articles that they had opened up.
This begs the question that why isn’t there some sort of committee made up of people who know about the industry and are also well-versed with the technical aspect of it so that when such meetings take place, companies can’t just beat around the bush or talk their way out of it by throwing around technical terms.
The EA representative claiming that EA implements loot boxes ethically clearly doesn’t remember the Battlefront 2 debacle that occurred at launch. While the microtransaction aspect of the game has since improved, EA and other companies certainly seem to push microtransactions in subtle ways, especially towards pre-adolescent and adolescent teens.
There were a lot of other topics discussed during the meeting like whether or not they tracked how long players played a game(both companies replied they didn’t) and about addiction, parental control, and gambling which you can check out for yourself and see how bad some of the questions were and how evasive the responses were. The meeting is linked below and goes on for a bit over 2 hours long.
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