Oh boy, everybody’s favorite gaming publisher Electronic Arts is at it again by painting the company’s already bad reputation even worse than it was. During a session at a committee from the UK parliament, EA executive Kerry Hopkins defended the controversial microtransaction with gambling elements by calling it ethical and fun.
Electronic Arts became synonymous with loot boxes and predatory monetization mechanics after the launch of 2017’s Battlefront 2. Fan backlash against the game balance-breaking loot boxes even led to EA redesigning the system altogether in subsequent updates. The loot box controversy became massive afterwards and soon other games featuring the mechanic were protested. Publishers reacted and only a few months later loot boxes started being removed from their games and announcements of future titles forgoing them altogether.
Now, loot boxes didn’t vanish but for the majority of games, customers achieved their goals in form of relegating them to non-critical cosmetic items only. Despite EA backtracking, the damage was done and the publisher became once again vividly condemned. One would think EA would act with increased delicacy when talking about loot boxes but here we are again.
EA’s VP of legal and government affairs Kerry Hopkins took part in an oral evidence session at the UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee, where she answered question about randomized purchases a.k.a loot boxes. After all, gambling is one of the most heavily regulated business in every country.
Hopkins’ answer about the nature of loot boxes could not have been worse. Not only did she defend the predatory mechanic but compared them to children toys such as Kinder Eggs. She didn’t stop there and described loot boxes as “actually quite ethical and quite fun, quite enjoyable to people“. Obviously, gamers aren’t having it and are once again outraged towards EA for attempting to portray loot boxes as harmless and ethical.