EA says loot boxes are like 'Kinder Eggs' and 'quite ethical'

Star Wars a Snowspeeder racing towards an AT-AT
Star Wars a Snowspeeder racing towards an AT-AT (Image credit: EA)

What you need to know

  • Star Wars Battlefront II ignited a loot box controversy at launch due to its pay-to-win microtransactions.
  • EA recently answered questions asked by the United Kingdom Parliament about its practices.
  • The company's executives said that loot boxes were like "Kinder Eggs" and "quite ethical."
  • It's unclear what the parliament will decide going forward.

Over the past few years, various world governments have launched investigations into loot boxes. The controversy began when Star Wars Battlefront II featured pay-to-win mechanics at launch. They were tied to progression and seen as unfair by the majority of gamers since the title is a multiplayer experience.

EA has discussed loot boxes with a number of governments, and recently, the company appeared before the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament. Instead of explaining how the company would make them transparent, EA's executives tried to convince the body that loot boxes are like "Kinder Eggs" and "quite ethical." A report by PCGamesN said the following.

Kerry Hopkins, EA's Vice President of Legal and Government affairs, insists that the company's randomized purchases aren't loot boxes, but rather 'surprise mechanics.' In an oral evidence session with the UK Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee, Hopkins compares the mechanics to surprise toys... 'whether it's Kinder Eggs or Hatchimals.' In response to questions... Hopkins says 'We do think the way that we have implemented these kinds of mechanics... is actually quite ethical and quite fun.'

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It's unclear what the future holds for loot boxes in the UK, but only time will tell. How do you feel about this? Should they be banned for everyone or just children? Let us know.

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  • Sorry, but I will have to...
    (X) Doubt
  • Quite ethical? I guess they aren't bad if you look at them if you call them what they are, games of chance. I don't blame casinos for existing, but they can (and often they do) exploit people's weaknesses. This doesn't necessarily make them unethical, but makes it very easy to cross the line.
  • I wouldn't compare loot boxes to Kinder Eggs but if EA wants to make that comparison then they need to live with the fact that Kinder Eggs are illegal in the U.S. and thus if Kinder Eggs are forbidden then loot boxes should be as well. On a personal level, I love Kinder Eggs and find the ban on them in the U.S. to be totally nonsense. However, I still don't like loot boxes.
  • That explains why I don't even know what they are.
  • But these are nothing like kinder eggs. Kinder eggs you actually buy chocolat knowing that you'll get some kind of cheap toy inside. The toy itself has some value. I really didn't know it is banned in the US.
  • The Kinder Eggs we get here don't have the toys! It's just the egg!
  • Kinder Eggs are banned in the US because the FDA has rules in place that states, "Food cannot contain non-edible material." Kinder Eggs contain hard plastic yellow egg with a toy that could be assembled. Obviously, this doesn't pertain to natural foods like fruit where you don't eat the seeds or meat products that contain bone. Kinder eggs are wholly manufactured. That's why.
  • Kinder Eggs are no longer band in the US. I can go to a market right now in the use (Kroger, HEB, Albertsons to name a few) and buy some. But loot boxes are not the same as Kinder Eggs. The fact they hide what's inside is where the similarity ends. The fact loot boxes contain non-functional game "components" as a highly probable chance to obtain, make them poison and too much like gambling.
  • The Kinder Eggs with toys inside cannot be sold in the U.S. They have made a different kind of Kinder Egg to sell in the U.S.
  • You are wrong and here's why: A "NEW" product called Kinder Surprise is what you see on the shelves. They created that product to get around the current ban because of inedible material found in a Kinder Egg.
  • This is so bad. EA can just f*** off with this bs.
    It so weird how one one side they proudly tells us that one of their upcoming games won't have microtransactions and loot boxes. And at the same time these idiots talks about of great and ethical they are...
  • They are trying to save their asses. If laws change in places, will they be retroactively punished? Probably not, but this will prevent them from screwing us in the future.
  • Main takeaway from this is that EA after all year nonsense:
    1. Don't understand what gamers want.
    2. Do not have any regret about their practices.
    3. This is official position. This position is supported by all management.
    This shows that despite whatever change or removal of lootboxes was done, they haven't change their mind. I have prohibited my son to play EA games. EA needs change.
  • Any games that have them should be rated as adult only
  • Damn if ya'll really mad about lootboxes then like
    Just don't buy them lol
    Let those of us who can afford to do so.
  • So, what you are saying is that you are part of the problem. You obviously don't understand what is wrong with charging full price for a product and then charging small amounts to keep it running. What if your computer or phone slowed down untill you paid $1 for a 'chance' to speed it back up?
  • I can probably afford them far more than you can. What is wrong is that if I pay for a game, I want my ability to play it to be directly related to my skill in the game, not how much money I throw at it.
  • @eddie
    It's actually hilarious to see comments like this.
    You think people can't afford this bs? You think real gamers actually want this? It's not really to understand what's wrong with this, how it affects actual gameplay for EVERYONE. Do you understand pay2win economics, gambling and addictions in these games?
    Look what they did to mobile gaming. They are trying to do the same thing for full price games.
  • Lol 😂 I find it funny how some of you get so angry.
    Firstly, loot boxes aren't ethical or unethical. They just are. There's nothing morally bad about them.
    Second part, I don't really like loot boxes and neither do a lot of people. Loot boxes shouldn't be banned. I do like the season passes where you buy it, and either get new content right away or have to play the game to earn the new Content. I thi k that is a better way then randomized boxes.
  • So, you don't think there's any moral issue exposing a child to gambling?
  • @Chris
    We are talking about gambling mechanism in full price game that targets kids. Personally I get angry because I'm a gamer. And I don't want this to be where gaming is heading. I actually like gaming, so when companies tries to hurt it, I get angry. When there are some company fanboys who defend these companies I get even more angry.
    I guess it's a natural reaction...
  • EA just love ******* off the consumer. It's unethical because your paying £60 for the game. In gambling you don't buy the casino game first then bet. Or in sport. You aren't forced to buy a ticket at the stadium for a seat then have access for the ability to gamble on the game. It's totally different if the game is free. It's designed as a gambling game. But not when you pay for the game in the first place.
  • What I think? I don't play, will never play, anything with in-app purchases. Ever. I think the whole system of freemium **** is a scam. And I think like contracts with fine print, there should be regulation. It should be r18 and should state on the box clearly 'this game contains in game purchases'. Whether the things you buy are gambling or not, IMO is fairly irrelevant. Pay to win, is pay to win. That it's random just makes it more bunk, than already bunk.
  • Every game has in app purchases just about I guess you're quiting gaming.. or you just on the EA hate train choo choo
  • @Dontavius
    1) No not every game has it so you're wrong. If you think that all games does this than you'll need to have a better look around.
    2) There is a degree of this bs. Here this is a game that is full priced. Sold to everyone, With multiple version. Pay to win and loot box.
    And after all this they act innocent and say what they are doing is quite ethical. Enough with the Whataboutism. We are talking about what EA said.
  • Just like 'Everybody' buys these in the games right? Stop making generalizations.
  • Crazy how everyone hate EA but support Ubisoft to the fullest all Ubisoft games have microtransactions mad add-ons and year 1,2,3,4,5 blahh blahh add-ons to justify a 2 or 3 year game still being $60-$100+ dollars. You literally can just buy helios in Assassin Creed and be a God in the the story. EA changed there loot boxes to cosmetics people still hate EA. Literally every Ubisoft game has cosmetics microtransactions nobody cares though just hate EA
  • Yeah, Ubisoft is significantly worse than EA but no one cares because people are sheep, they care about who the media tells them to care about because no one thinks for themselves.
  • @Sin
    1) Can you tell me how Ubisoft is significantly worse than EA?
    2) I don't know how you can say that we are sheep? EA are not the only company getting criticised.
    Do you think that the media has some kind of hidden agenda against EA? Does EA deserve criticism seeing their history?
  • We hate EA for a variety of other reasons, so it just makes it that much worse.
  • @Dontavius
    Ah damage control with the classic "Whataboutism".
    This is a topic about EA and EA are talking bs. So yeah we'll trash them here. If Ubisoft, Activision, MS, Sony,... say something like this don't worry I'll trash them. It's not because Ubisoft puts microtransactions in AC that we shouldn't criticise EA. And vice versa.
    I'm tired of all these company worshipping and damage control...
    Next time, if you want to defend EA, lootbox, pay2win economic... please bring proper argument and not this bs.
  • It's Kinder Eggs if the design of the progression system are the same before and after the implementation. Or, if the game is mostly single player.