Kerry Hopkins, EA’s VP of legal and government affairs clarified that loot boxes are actually “surprise mechanics” and they are “quite ethical and quite fun”.
Epic Games and EA representatives were called to an evidence session of the UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, to talk about certain game mechanics that can be seen as predatory and how are they protecting their customers.
During the session, when asked if she thinks loot boxes are ethical, Kerry Hopkins explained explained that they are actually “surprise mechanics” and that she believes that they are well implemented within their games and that they offer a unique experience to players. She further compared them to Kinder Eggs saying that certain people enjoy the feeling of surprise when they receive something like that.
Her exact answer to the question is:
“We do think the way that we have implemented these kinds of mechanics, and FIFA of course is our big one, our FIFA Ultimate Team and our packs, is actually quite ethical and quite fun, quite enjoyable to people.”
She continued by saying that EA completely agrees with various gambling commissions that don’t consider loot boxes gambling, but that they strongly disagree with anyone who says otherwise.
When asked about Belgium’s ban on loot boxes, Hopkins seemed offended and stated that regulators have made interpretation of local law which don’t align with decisions of the European Federation of Gambling Regulators.
Brendan O’Hara, Scottish National Party MP, continued by asking if a government body must make a ruling or legislate against something for EA to take action. Hopkins stated that the decision to remove loot boxes in Belgium was a business decision. The question was mostly avoided by Hopkins, as O’Hara himself said that he doesn’t believe his question was answered before moving over to Epic Games representatives.
The responses were at best arrogant, at worst insulting (Personal opinion). Representatives avoided questions so much that a member of the committee asked Epic representatives if they were coached on how to answer questions. Which they did confirm.
In case you want to see the session for yourself, you can do so on their website.