In recent news about the gaming industry. We find out that the popular game publisher is in trouble because of another lawsuit. This new class-action lawsuit is filed against EA in Canada. The plaintiffs, in this case, argue that EA is profiting off an illegal gambling business because they sell randomized loot boxes for cash. EA is notorious for in-game purchases and limiting game potential. This is something that a lot of fans have argues and asked them to fix. However, it looks like the issue is still persistent.
A similar lawsuit was also filed against EA in California recently. This case claimed that the FIFA Ultimate Team mode is essentially gambling. While it’s certain that loot boxes give you something in return it’s never certain what you will get. The case was spotted by The Patch Notes in their blog which focuses on games and law issues. They uploaded the complete Notice of Civil Claim. That contains a lot of details about this case and sheds light on certain things.
We first discover that this lawsuit against EA is by two individuals who described themselves as the customers of EA games. One of them claims to have bought loot boxes for EA’s Madden NFL games. The other bought loot boxes for various NHL games. This lawsuit can become a serious problem for EA. As investigations begin, EA could be looking to pay everyone who purchased loot boxes in any of EA’s games since 2008. That is a lot of users as well as a lot of amounts to pay if the suit is successful.
Just like previous cases about loot boxes in EA games, this one has similar mentions of Laws against gambling. There are citations of gambling-relevant sections of Canada’s Criminal code in order to portray loot boxed as a form of gambling.
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The lawsuit also mentions other international precedents similar to it. These include loot box regulation enforcement in Korea and Japan, the recent laws in Belgium, and the Netherlands against loot boxes, as well as the ongoing loot box inquiries in the UK and US.
A Loot box is a new form in games to get skins as well as several other game content that become popular in 2016 with the release of Overwatch. EA has had some serious issues with loot box implementation in the past. Not long ago EA was bashed on Reddit for loot box implementation in Star Wars Battlefront II. Although Star Wars Battlefront II is an exceptional game, it did not get a lot of initial sales. However, EA did try to make things better in the game with a complete remodel of the loot box system.
Coming back to our recent lawsuit bear in mind that this is a civil lawsuit and the government has no obligation to amend its policies. However, in case the plaintiffs do win the case it might start a fire for change in the laws as well. unlike some of the countries mentioned earlier, Canada currently has no laws in place to regulate loot boxes in games. Countries like the Netherlands and Belgium have been taking a close look at the similarities between loot boxes and gambling. They are currently taking steps to ensure proper regulation.
On the other hand, there are also countries like New Zealand and France have made it clear that there is no connection between loot boxes and gambling. Either way, we’ll have to wait for the results of this lawsuit to see how the Canadian government reacts. Surely it’s not an issue on their priority list.