The news making the rounds today is that FIFA 23 will be retaining loot boxes in its insanely popular Ultimate Team mode. Well, of course, loot boxes are staying in Ultimate Team. EA likes money, and Ultimate Team, via its loot boxes, generates an eye-watering amount of revenue for the company. So much so that smaller markets like Belgium and the Netherlands banning loot boxes in games barely causes EA to bat an eye. Why would it when the rest of the world is hooked on ripping open player packs during the plethora of events FIFA titles have each year?
But the problem isn’t companies like EA, Take-Two, and Blizzard that prey on children by inserting casinos into their games. The problem is the governments who do nothing about it. The UK government (where FIFA is the biggest game each year) held a consultation on loot boxes in games that took nearly two years. The findings concluded that there is, in fact, an association between loot boxes in gaming and problem gambling.
So, after nearly two years of consultations and finding out that loot boxes do have a link with gambling issues, what did the British government do? Nothing. They refused to even introduce restrictions for children purchasing loot boxes.
Similarly, in the US, various Senators and members of Congress have called for changes to loot boxes in games but have yet to achieve any meaningful legislation that would either regulate the practice or outright ban it like in Belgium.
Until governments get their act together and regulate loot boxes for what they are, gambling, video game companies are going to continue to take advantage of the easy money. The gaming community as a whole may abhor the practice, but the fact is, these companies aren’t going to leave money on the table.
Leadership needs to start from the top, instead of gamers chastising developers on social media, they should be contacting their local representatives who, in all likelihood, have no idea what a loot box is. They are the ones who can put an end to the practice that sees people spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on games like Diablo: Immortal.
The fact is unless major markets like the US and, in the case of FIFA, bigger European countries take a stand, this is a problem that is only going to get worse.
For more from 128 Bit, subscribe to our article notifications below.