It has not been a great launch period for Star Wars Battlefront 2. Electronic Arts’ (EA) much awaited continuation to the Battlefront franchise was almost immediately panned by fans and critics as “pay to win”, where players could pay money for items that improved their performance in-game. To that end EA pulled the system, but such actions did not appease the Belgian Gaming Commission from launching an investigation into the practice. EA attempted to shift the blame to the Star Wars license, but their pleas seem to have fallen of deaf ears.
Which is when the bad news for EA keeps getting worse, as France may begin to take a closer look at the loot-crate practice. French senator Jérôme Durain reached out to several consumer advocacy groups recently, expressing concern that the boxes may be harmful to children. A translation reads: “Quite aside from the acceptance of the practice, some observers point to a convergence of the video game world and practices specific to gambling.” He highlights several avenues of resolution, including perhaps adopting Chinese models which include transparency win chances. Fortunately for EA, he also says that he is not at a point where he believes legislation is strictly necessary.
Charles Coppolani of ARJEL, the regulatory oversight board in France which monitors all gambling within the country, replied the practice poses, “risks for our fellow citizens and in particular for the youngest. These risks are very close to those that characterise gambling addiction money; it is necessary to be very vigilant.” He further stressed consumer protection may indeed become a necessity before long.
Elsewhere, Hawaii state representative Chris Lee voiced similar concerns last week. It would seem EA’s loot box policy was only a straw that finally broke this particular camel’s back.