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EA believes 'surprise mechanics' and loot boxes are 'quite ethical and quite fun'

By Polycount · 59 replies
Jun 20, 2019
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  1. However, despite the public's frustration with loot boxes, EA is convinced that people love them. Speaking before a UK parliament panel on Wednesday (the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee), representatives from EA and Epic Games made their feelings on the matter very clear.

    Instead of referring to loot boxes as loot boxes, they call them "surprise mechanics" and claim that they are "quite ethical and quite fun" in the eyes of many players.

    The following excerpt from the hearing's full transcript summarizes EA VP Kerry Hopkins' arguments:

    If you go to—I don’t know what your version of Target is—a store that sells a lot of toys and you do a search for surprise toys, you will find that this is something people enjoy. They enjoy surprises. It is something that has been part of toys for years, whether it is Kinder eggs or Hatchimals or LOL Surprise!. We think the way we have implemented those kinds of mechanics—and FIFA, of course, is our big one, our FIFA Ultimate Team and our packs—is quite ethical and quite fun; it is enjoyable to people.

    Naturally, anti-loot box gamers will probably strongly disagree with Hopkins' arguments here, but he nonetheless defends them vigorously throughout the rest of the hearing.

    "We agree with the UK Gambling Commission, the Australian gambling commission and many other gambling commissions that they are not gambling, and we also disagree that there is evidence that shows it leads to gambling," Hopkins added. "Instead, we think it is like many other products that people enjoy in a very healthy way. They like the element of surprise."

    We highly recommend reading the full hearing transcript for yourself. It sheds some light on how EA views loot boxes and microtransactions in general, and the members of parliament questioning EA and Epic pose some pretty tough questions to the two companies (though they don't seem particularly satisfied with the answers they were given).

    Permalink to story.

  2. Carlos GarPov

    Carlos GarPov TS Enthusiast Posts: 40   +21

    "quite fun" for whom??? I do not think the customers might agree with the statement above.

    Ah before I forget, rapers like to rape and haters like to hate, that does not mean that it is correct to exercise those actions, so stop spreading lootboxes all over. Simply it is not convient for the mayority of human beings.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
    TempleOrion likes this.
  3. G0DofPaiN

    G0DofPaiN TS Addict Posts: 78   +58

    Quite fun for EA, of course. They get tears of joy watching their account fill with money so easily.
    havok585, MaitieS, wiyosaya and 2 others like this.
  4. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,715   +2,514

    You give up something of value for a chance at receiving something of superior value. That's a loot box. Its also the dictionary definition of gambling.

    Also, you gotta love how the EA guy is totally unfamiliar with retail outside of the US.
  5. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,124   +1,617

    LOL...talk about some serious spin. And bad spin at that.

    That's like saying, "I like getting hit over the head with a hammer - that's a surprise, right?"
  6. texasrattler

    texasrattler TS Evangelist Posts: 723   +285

    If EA and Epic like them so much, why arent they just part of the game we pay for?
    Oh I know, so they can charge more for a surprise I may not even like or want.
    If its cosmetic items and does not affect gameplay is fine but even those rare items may cost a small fortune to get which is where the problem truely lies at.
    yRaz likes this.
  7. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,941   +1,490

    Actually, EA has a point. Now I'm going to buy some lootboxes. Thanks EA for opening my eyes.
    astralcyborg and Andromadus like this.
  8. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,390   +3,779

    Of course they do, as long as they are the one's benefiting from it all. Now, if they were forced to pay all of us for using their product, just like the advertisers have to pay, then it would be fun and profitable for all the players. Being retired, I have loads of time to rake in the cash so how about it?!? Don't you want to see them help a poor old retiree be able to pay for his next batch of pills .......
  9. Ren128

    Ren128 TS Rookie

    Aren't Kinder Eggs banned in US (because of choking hazard)?
  10. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,999   +3,483

    It's not a chance, you always win some form of in-game item or skin. In gambling you do not always win something. In addition, lootboxes do not give you something of superior value. All of the items you receive are digital and do not have value in and of themselves. When gambling, your payout is always in some item worth money, whether it be tokens that are exchanged for cash or digital credit.

    I agree with EA that lootboxes can be fun but EA has not demonstrated in any of their games where that fun is to be had. Pay2Win lootboxes are not fun, hiding base game items behind lootboxes is not fun, forcing lootbox purchases through grindly gameplay is not fun. Customers should not feel forced to purchase a lootbox, it should be their choice.
  11. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,390   +5,018

    Even though you are being sold a chance, people don't spend for a chance. They spend for specific items. And if you don't get the specific item you bought a box key for, you lost at gambling. Because the item you got instead is likely useless to you. It is the same concept as not winning the slot machine.
    Wessell Urdata likes this.
  12. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,999   +3,483

    You weren't being sold a chance, you were being sold a box containing a variety of random items, more like a grab bag. Last I checked, those are not considered gambling.
    Shadowboxer likes this.
  13. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,390   +5,018

    You are right it is not considered gambling. But that is exactly what it is. If your only chance at getting the item is to spend on the boxes. You have to gamble at how much it will cost you.
    TempleOrion likes this.
  14. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,999   +3,483

    I get what you are saying. Well, they did have to draw the line somewhere.
  15. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,390   +5,018

    The game I play. I don't spend anything on boxes. I choose not to play their unfair game of chance. If I knew I would get what I wanted within a dozen boxes, it would be different. I heard someone state they opened 3000 boxes and never once received a legendary (top value) item. People who open boxes in quantities that high are the ones the devs are talking about in this article. It is easy to assume when someone opens 3000 boxes, they enjoy doing so.
  16. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,999   +3,483

    Well that would certainly suck. I know in Overwatch you do have a higher chance of getting items that you don't already own. In addition, for each duplicate you receive you get tokens that can be exchanged for any skin of your choosing. In addition, any OWL skins can be outright purchased.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  17. Fearghast

    Fearghast TS Addict Posts: 130   +89

    They are not wrong!
    I am quite amused by reading this article. Oh, humanity, you so cre-cre :)
  18. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TechSpot Staff Posts: 680   +660

    Yeah I think I have like 90% of all the available cosmetics in Overwatch and I've never bought a box. Just played quite a bit.

    Ok, a lot.

    Ok, far too much...
  19. Capaill

    Capaill TS Evangelist Posts: 894   +497

    Nice try EA.
    "If you go to—I don’t know what your version of Target is—a store that sells a lot of toys and you do a search for surprise toys, you will find that this is something people enjoy."
    But you don't spend $10 before entering the store only to be given 5 plastic frogs to add to the pile of 400 that you already have and then go and spend another $10 to be let back in, to see what you're given next.
    TempleOrion likes this.
  20. fluffydestroyer

    fluffydestroyer TS Booster Posts: 81   +41

    "...EA is convinced that people love them". No not really. They know its about the skinner box effect. Well not th name but the results of this experiment is the exact same. Publishers and developers knows about it as well and use it to the detriment of the gamer. A couple of developers and publishers publicly admited they know that gamers are very weak in terms of addiction to these effect and they use it to make money of course which is the whole point.

    So what is the skinner box effect ? In my words, its a way for a person to change your behavior so they can use it to their advantage. Some times for good and other times, like here, for bad intentions. Why ? Because publishers and developers want your money no matter what. In other words, its a way to change your way to make choices so they can "addict" (probably too aggressive for a word) you to give you rewards and in return you always come back to it.

    The source link shows you how its done but the point is they use the game to make you spend money by training, modifying your behavior. its really sneaky and freaky the way its done and it works.

    source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operant_conditioning_chamber
    source: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-a-skinner-box-2795875
  21. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,543   +918

    If microtransactions go, be prepared for higher priced games.
  22. doomworm

    doomworm TS Member Posts: 22   +25

    Actually, Psycros is correct. Both lootboxes and gambling release Dopamine in the brain due to the expectation of receiving a reward. Whether it's money or a rare digital item, it doesn't matter. The effect is the same.
    TempleOrion likes this.
  23. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 731   +561

    What is fun? Like Diablo where you earn a chest for skill and strategy playing. Can you imagine if they started charging for opening those chests? Wait, a company is already doing it - a game called Elder Scrolls: Blades. You have to wait days to open them or pay in real cash. What the heck has gone wrong with these game companies other than their love of money?? They aren't even enjoyable except for people that don't know how it used to be. And for that I feel sorry for them. Game companies preying on kids.

    Edit: As far as Diablo, I was almost more playing for the chests to see what would drop rather than to play the game. It was borderline.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
  24. ShObiT

    ShObiT TS Maniac Posts: 180   +166

    LOL at this hearing, who they think they are talking to? childrens? Not even Nintendo use those catch phrases hahahaha
    wiyosaya likes this.
  25. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,993   +2,290

    :facepalm: Marketing spin. What else would EA say?

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