Class Action Lawsuit Hits EA Over The Ultimate Team Pack Lootbox System

by in General | Oct, 22nd 2020

This can’t possibly be a surprise; EA’s microtransactions are coming under fire. In particular, a class-action lawsuit has been filed in Canada, alleging NHL 21 and Madden 21 are both operating an illegal gambling system via lootbox. It’s one thing to have a free-to-play game with lootboxes, but a full-price retail game? On top of that, buying these lootboxes have a chance to make your gameplay easier, by pulling the best players in the game? There’s no way that was viewed as a “user-friendly” system.

It’s predatory, it’s disgusting, and a lawsuit has now been filed about it.

Pay-to-Win Traditional Sports

Canada’s not the first country to see the lootbox (EA or otherwise) as a serious problem. The lawsuit in question was reported on by Business in Vancouver, and it states Mark Sutherland and Shawn Moore brought the lawsuit about. What is the statement of the EA lootbox lawsuit?

“Class action for damages for unjust enrichment arising from defendants’ operation of an illegal gambling system through the sale of so-called “loot boxes” in popular video games”.

This felt like it was only a matter of time. In particular, we look back to FIFA 21, where esports orgs still have to invest thousands of real dollars to recruit a team that is viable to compete with. So they have to invest their hard-earned money to play an esport? How disgusting is that? NHL 21 and Madden 21 are the games targeted in the lawsuit, but FIFA is just as guilty. 

EA’s the king of microtransactions right now. Remember the Star Wars: Battlefront debacle? Most of their games seem to be full-priced, with real-money lootbox options on top of the base price, which led to this lawsuit towards EA. 

So what do you do? You play in Ultimate Team Mode, and spend real-money on the various lootboxes. From there, you have a chance to recruit the best players. The odds are likely incredibly high that you instead, get a player you have zero need for. This leads to people spending more and more, just so they have a shot at winning matches. Some just shrug their shoulders and say it’s just a cost of playing the game. But in franchises where virtually nothing changes from game to game other than a handful of player stats, this is just predatory on an unheard-of level. 

The EA lootbox system is one that’s tried-and-tested for them and is used in so many of their games. It gets people to spend more and more money on the game, keeping them hooked on buying “just one more pack”. The hope of pulling a rare, top-tier player is just too addicting. We don’t know if it’s going to lead to any kind of lootbox ban – and frankly, we doubt it. But something has to be done about this. Perhaps they should move their sports games to the f2p model, where fewer people complain about p2w shenanigans.

Something has to be done, and we hope this gets heard in a court of law, where change can hopefully occur.


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