On Wednesday, June 19, EA’s VP of legal and government affairs, Kerry Hopkins, bravely took the stand in UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee during an oral evidence session.
She was unfairly questioned by Scottish National Party MP Brendan O’Hara who suggested there was a link between loot boxes and gambling. Ms. Hopkins stood her ground and responded, “We don’t call them loot boxes,” but instead refer to them as, “surprise mechanics.”
I couldn’t agree more. EA has never referred to these mechanics as “loot boxes.”
Oh, those? No, those aren’t “historical Twitter evidence.” They’re “surprise coincidences.”
Ms. Hopkins continued by comparing these surprise mechanics to Kinder Eggs and Hatchimals.
“If you go to—I don’t know what your version of Target is—a store that sells lots of toys, and you do a search for surprise toys, what you’ll find is that this is something people enjoy. They enjoy surprises. And so, it’s something that’s been part of toys for years, whether it’s Kinder Eggs, or Hatchimals, or LOL Surprise.”
I couldn’t agree more. EA’s surprise mechanics are perhaps even a better implementation than Kinder Eggs and Hatchimals because players are given the privilege of paying $60 up front for the game before purchasing these surprise mechanics for an additional fee, unlike Kinder Eggs and Hatchimals.
Ms. Hopkins continued, commenting on the ethics of EA’s surprise mechanics.
“We do think the way that we have implemented these kinds of mechanics in FIFA—[which] of course is our big one, our FIFA Ultimate Team and our packs—is actually quite ethical and quite fun. Enjoyable to people.”
Once again, I couldn’t agree more. People enjoy not knowing what they’re about to purchase. I find it so boring knowing exactly what I’m getting when I buy something, especially after I already spent $60 on the game first.
Ok, maybe when I look at my friend and see that he has Messi, I feel a little jealous and really want Messi too. Maybe I go buy a Premium Gold Pack hoping I get Messi. I admit I didn’t get Messi when I opened the pack, but that’s ok! That’s part of the surprise. I don’t mind spending more money to get Messi again.
Alright here goes…oh, I didn’t get Messi. It’s ok! That’s the surprise! I really want Messi though, so maybe just one more Premium Gold Pack can’t hurt. I know I can stop whenever I want, but I like the surprise. I know EA just has my fun in mind when they made these awesome packs. After all, they certainly want me to keep buying them!
But I agree with Ms. Hopkins when she said,
“I don’t think we can agree to say that games are addictive. I would tell you that Electronic Arts already is a very responsible company.”
I couldn’t have said this better myself. I have to thank EA and Ms. Hopkins for telling us about these surprise mechanics. It’s good to see that EA has my best interest at heart when they commit to continuing their high ethical standard.
Thank you, EA. Thank you, Kerry Hopkins. Thank you for proving us all correct.