Despite the decision by some regulatory authorities around the world that “loot boxes” are an illegal form of gambling, Electronic Arts remains committed to the practice, EA CEO Andrew Wilson said during an earnings call this week.
“As you might imagine, we’re working with all the industry associations globally and with regulators in various jurisdictions and territories, many of whom we’ve been working with for some time and have evaluated and established that programs like ‘FIFA Ultimate Team’ are not gambling,” Wilson said. “And we don’t believe that ‘FIFA Ultimate Team’ – all loot boxes are gambling.”
The issue of loot boxes, a form of microtransaction that has players spending real money to purchase a virtual box and then open it to discover what’s inside it, came to a head late last year with the release of EA’s “Star Wars Battlefront II” which featured a form of the box that players felt was costly and unfair. EA later pulled the form of microtransaction and completely retooled it before reintroducing a more accepted form of loot box to the game.
While the debate continues over loot boxes and whether they are a form of illegal gambling, Wilson explained Tuesday why EA believes they’re not.
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“Firstly, players always receive a specified number of items in each [‘FIFA Ultimate Team’] box. And secondly, we don’t provide or authorize any way to cash out or sell items in virtual currency for real-world money. And there’s no way we can make value assign to FUT items in game currency. And while we forbid the transfer of items of in-the-game currency outside, we also actively seek to eliminate that where it’s going on in an illegal environment, and we work with regulators in various jurisdictions to achieve that.”
He also said the company plans to “push forward” and the monetization method.
“And so net-net, we’re going to continue to push forward,” he said. “We’re always thinking about our players. We’re always thinking about how to deliver these types of experiences in a transparent, fun, fair, and balanced way for our players. And we’ll communicate with regulators around the world on it.”