“I would tell you that Electronic Arts already is a very responsible company.” These are the words of EA VP of legal and government affairs, Kerry Hopkins. She and other video game publisher representatives testified in front of UK parliament concerning loot boxes.
Hopkins crafted a narrative that loot boxes as they’re implemented in their games are fun, ethical and that players love them.
“We don’t call them loot boxes,” Hopkins began her response, adding that EA instead refers to them as “surprise mechanics.” followed by “FIFA—[which] of course is our big one, our FIFA Ultimate Team and our packs—is actually quite ethical and quite fun. Enjoyable to people.” Then going so far as to claim that EA does not consider loot boxes to be gambling, and “we also disagree that there’s evidence that shows it leads to gambling.”
She also further boldly stated “Moment for moment, loot boxes are engineered to capture attention with a mixture of spectacle and psychological trickery not unlike what you might find at a slot machine.” Only to conclude with “I don’t think we can agree to say that games are addictive.” and the opening quote for this article.
So let’s look at the facts shall we. EA has had the dishonor of being voted the worst company in America multiple times and even ranked 5th last year. The company has historically the most down-voted post on reddit, and it’s widely known as a studio killer in the gaming industry. So for a representative of that same company to claim that what they do is ethical or responsible is absurd.
Ethical would mean not financially backing the governing body that age rates your own games their games. Responsible would mean not having addictive loot boxes in games designed for and sold predominantly to kids.
EA is a company that locks users out of their own purchases, has terrible customer support, and popular IPs with increasing diminishing returns. Their games get worse and worse every year while becoming more and more expensive to play.
So why do they still sell well?
Aggressive exclusivity deals for their sports titles and the ignorance of consumers has ensured EA’s continued success in the market.
Here’s hoping the UK parliament and other governing bodies around the worlds see fit to follow the example of the Belgium government and protect the interests of their citizens from companies like EA. With VPs like Kerry Hopkins with such warped senses of morality they will continue to push the limits since the average consumers is too inept to make a free market system work in their favor.
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