If you haven’t been hiding under a rock for the last month then you’ll surely know how much trouble EA seems to have gotten into with the problems that loot boxes have given the company. EA’s most prominent title of 2017, Battlefront 2, was so riddled with microtransaction problems that there was an internet-wide revolt against the title, plummetting EA’s stock prices as a result. Many have weighed in to argue that loot boxes are just an extension of gambling and as such should be regulated or eliminated. It looks like New Zealand’s government may not agree.
New Zealand’s prominent regulation group, the Gambling Compliance Department, weighed in on loot boxes and came to a surprising decision. The group made a comment to Gamasutra earlier this week saying, “The Department is of the view that loot boxes do not meet the legal definition of gambling.” Department head Trish Millward admitted that loot boxes do appear to be a form of gambling, because you are paying money for the ‘chance of improvement’, but that the legal definition is vaguer Millward went on to say that her department would continue to monitor loot boxes in case things change in the future.
Right now the problem of loot boxes in gaming reaches far and wide and players seem to be close to giving up on them altogether. Unfortunately, a smaller percentage of gamers is more than willing to pay for the chance to be better than their opposition. This means that money is continuing to flow in and thus gaming companies have no reason to go away from the lucrative concept.
EA. reacted to internet-boycotts by saying that they would re-evaluate how the company approaches items held in loot boxes. Previously, gamers could obtain items that severely increased their ability to win in matches. Now, EA is considering using more aesthetic items that improve your cosmetics rather than your actual ability while playing the game. The question is, will EA follow through?