A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Electronic Arts Inc. and Electronic Arts Canada Inc. over loot boxes. These are the containers for video games.
A corporate claim was registered with the British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver. The plaintiffs maintain that these boxes constitute a form of gambling targeting children and adolescents.
According to the class-action lawsuit, concealed loot box odds affect a player’s chances of claiming a prize for their money. A public hearing is forthcoming.
Targeting kids with a game of chance
There has been on-going concern over loot boxes for years on the part of the public. The needed in-game purchases for virtual items are said to resemble a form of gambling in that they are random. As a game of chance, the loot boxes should be regulated and go against the Criminal Code of Canada. It is a breach of the BC Consumer Protection act.
Children think they are customizing the video game or leveling up, but the “pay to win” feature entails real money. Of note, Star Wars Battlefront II is one of the most criticized games using loot boxes for expanded functionality. The reason is essentially the element of chance.
There are many more like Madden, FIFA, NHL, Apex Legends, Mass Effect, Need for Speed, Plants vs Zombies, and the Battlefield series.
A recent report for the European Parliament Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection finds that loot boxes have “problematic design features”. As such, it create an “irresistible urge to play”. Thus, consumer protection is warranted.