The latest video game from Electronic Arts (EA) has caused a lot of controversy in the video game world. Their latest title, Star Wars Battlefront II, has faced major backlash from the gaming community over the use of so-called loot boxes, which some gamers are claiming constitute gambling in the video game. EA recently came out and insisted that loot boxes are not gambling, but the issue is being investigated.
EA Denies Loot Boxes Are Gambling
EA recently responded to a gaming website, GameSpot, and said that the loot crate system is not gambling. EA claims that players are not forced to purchase these loot crates, and a player’s ability to succeed in the game isn’t dependent on them. Finally, EA added that when a player purchases and opens a loot box, they are guaranteed to receive in-game items.
If you are unfamiliar with what these loot boxes are, essentially it is a box that players can open that will contain a random selection of in-game items. These items range from being very common, to very rare. The rarer items provide better benefits to players. The issue with Star Wars Battlefront II is that this is a competitive, multiplayer online video game and players can gain an actual in-game advantage over other players by spending more money and purchasing loot boxes.
Loot Boxes Coming Under Scrutiny
Loot boxes have already been looked at by several agencies, including the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), who also said it was not gambling as players were guaranteed to get something. However, after the massive backlash to the system used and the huge amount of press received, some countries are now examining the system. These include Belgium and even the UK.
While technically these loot crate systems might not be gambling, we all know there is no guarantee when playing your favorite casino game, there are plenty of similarities. In addition to this, the system has massive negative effects on those who suffer from an addictive personality. Just as we have gambling addicts, there are numerous reports of people getting addicted to loot boxes. There have been stories of people spending $15 000 or more on these systems.
If this is the case, then video game companies need to take a serious look at the system and try help those suffering from problems, just as casinos and online casinos are required to. At this time, EA has removed the ability to buy loot boxes with real-world money, and players can currently only earn them in game. However, they have said that players will again be able to buy them with real-world money in the future, once the system has been modified and improved, based on player feedback.