EA Being EA

Quick article regarding EA + loot boxes, in particular after Belgium/Netherlands have banned loot boxes.

Two items stick out to me.

which has helped the company grow year-over-year to $1.25 billion during its last quarter even without releasing a major new game.

Make no mistake, EA is a publicly traded company with a sole goal – making money.  Anything else is bonus.  That they can pull in such a large sum of money is impressive.  I’m actually quite surprised that EA hasn’t jumped 110% on the Battle Royale bandwagon yet… seems a market prime for the taking.  Then again, they’ve avoided MOBAs like the plague.

 

EA, of course, says it doesn’t think FIFA Ultimate Team and other video game loot boxes are equivalent to slot machines.

First, players always receive a specified number of items in every FUT pack,” the executive explained. “Second, we don’t provide or authorize any way to cash out digital items or virtual currency for real-world money. And there’s no real-world value assigned to in-game items.

I argued the same point in the past, at least in terms of gambling from a legal perspective.  There’s a flaw in this argument though – in that the law itself is changing.  Just like online gambling was unregulated for a very long time, laws eventually caught up.  It’s naive to think that this massive cash cow would not have regulations applied to it.

EA is an american company and has plenty of lobbying power in that country.  Apple, Google, and Microsoft are much larger and lost to a massive degree when trying to fight EU countries when it comes to money.  I am having trouble seeing how this goes any other way that tight international regulations.  That, or the EU stops being a viable gaming market.

That said, I do look forward to EA trying to keep pushing lockboxes.  I have a lot of popcorn around here, and this will be a fun show.

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