Loot Boxes Are Sustainable and Not Gambling Says EA Sports VP

The issue involving loot boxes has been hotly debated since the controversial release of Star Wars Battlefront 2 in late 2017, but representatives of the games industry are still sharing their opinions on the subject. Most game developers and publishers have learned not to repeat EA’s mistake but it looks like EA itself isn’t backing off, especially EA Sports. The VP and COO of EA Sports, Daryl Holt, reiterated that loot boxes are sustainable and not gambling.

Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz at Gamelab Barcelona, Holt referred to the FIFA 18‘s Ultimate Team mode when he said: “It’s a different play model and that’s the aspect you need to lean into when we talk about player choice as part of our player-first mantra. They’re given the choice on how they want to compete.

He added: “I can earn things in FIFA Ultimate Team just by playing the game, at whatever tier I want to play at. I can also beat you if you have a better-rated team because I’m better than you at FIFA. I don’t worry about what my rating is as a team… That aspect of choice and how we engage with EA Sports is a very different aspect with how we look at the controversy that came up around Battlefront.”

On the question of whether loot boxes are considered gambling, he defended FIFA 18‘s Ultimate Team mode by saying: “You know exactly what you’re getting, you have disclosure on the assets that you buy. It’s not gambling; we provide the pack odds so you know what might pop up in a pack, there is no real-world currency value to any of the assets.”

No matter what EA says, it doesn’t change the fact that the authorities in Belgium and the Netherlands have classified loot boxes as gambling. US politicians have also started joining the fight against what they deem to be exploitative, especially for children. However, certain sides in the games industry are still defending loot boxes, including the president of the ESA (Entertainment Software Association).