Electronic Arts touched upon loot boxes during its call to investors yesterday.
EA said during its Q4 and fiscal year-end call to investors it doesn’t consider loot boxes gambling, and it will continue to offer these microtransactions in the future.
“We’re going to continue to push forward [with loot boxes], said EA CEO Andrew. “We’re always thinking about our players. We’re always thinking about how to deliver these types of experiences in a transparent, fun, fair, and balanced way for our players.”
Wilson said as far as countries “labeling loot boxes as illegal gambling,” EA doesn’t agree with the assessment. He used FIFA Ultimate Team as an example of how the company doesn’t authorize or provide a way for players to cash out or sell virtual items for real-world currency.
EA is working with industry associations and regulators in globally “in various jurisdictions” regarding the subject, said Wilson, adding it will continue to “communicate with regulators around the world.”
“We don’t believe that FIFA Ultimate Team – all loot boxes are gambling,” said Wilson. “Firstly, players always receive a specified number of items in each FUT pack. And secondly, we don’t provide or authorize any way to cash out or sell items in virtual currency for real-world money.
“There’s no way we can make value assign to FUT items in game currency. While we forbid the transfer of items of in-the-game currency outside, we also actively seek to eliminate that where it’s going on in an illegal environment, and we work with regulators in various jurisdictions to achieve that.” [thanks, Seeking Alpha]
In recent months since the Star Wars Battlefront 2 kerfuffle, the Dutch Gaming Authority, the South Korean Fair Trade Commission, Sweden, and Belgium Gaming Commission weighed in on the loot box controversy. Some consider such microtransactions on par with gambling, while others called out the lack of transparency regarding the contents.
US politicians also voiced concerns, with Hawaii introducing four bills which would prohibit the sale of games with loot boxes to anyone under 21. The bills would also force publishers to disclose odds for item drops in loot boxes.
Officials from three other states also introduced bills regarding loot boxes; US Senator Maggie Hassan asked the ESRB to look into loot boxes; and the ESRB announced it would add an “In-Game Purchases” label to titles featuring loot boxes and other microtransactions.