Multi-billion dollar video game publisher EA sports is under criminal investigation for failing to comply with strict Belgian gambling laws.
Electronic Arts, among many other triple A gaming companies, have been implementing ‘loot box’ systems within their games that are based on a game of chance and exploitative gambling.
Popular football video-game franchise FIFA is one of the many games under scrutiny after encouraging people, including underage consumers, to spend real money on in-game currency in the hopes of gaining the upper hand against opponents.
Card packs, loot boxes and supply drops are all available to buy with in game currency purchased from your real life bank account in a variety of different types of games. They can promise better weapons, abilities, players, characters and overall upgrades to their gaming experience.
The Belgian government believe that this tactic is not fairly angled towards customers, instead using the fact that they don’t know what they are going to get for the money they will spend.
Other publishers such as BLIZZARD and 2K have offered to remove these systems from their games to make them able for launch to the Belgian public however EA have chosen ignore the plea.
This has triggered an inspection from the Belgian gambling commission within the government to tackle the way in which Electronic Arts are enabling underage and more vulnerable consumers become victim to these predatory practises.
The hot topic CEO of EA sports Andrew Wilson is also said to have been quoted to say that loot boxes “Aren’t gambling” and that their video-games are “developed and implemented ethically and lawfully around the world”.
Some will argue that the particular impact that this type of system can have psychologically, esspecially on minors, is huge.
This may lead a poor example of how younger people have to deal with issues such as gambling addiction and takes away the fun in a video-game and replaces it was a confrontational game of chance that you may be obliged to take part in.
Parents, students, young people and guardians are all being urged to take notice in this issue and help to ensure that action is taken against this de-constructive system.