As already mentioned at the beginning, the game manufacturer Electronic Arts met with criticism because its virtual treasure chests allegedly have massive addiction potential. A new protection tool for the game FIFA 21 called “FIFA game time” is supposed to give players who are mostly youngsters an improved feeling for time and finances. It should help parents to give more insight into their children’s play behavior. “FIFA playing time” makes it clear how much time was spent in which game and how many matches were played in a mode. A clear table shows how many FIFA Points have been purchased and, very important for authorities and experts, how many Lootboxes have been opened.
In principle, these loot boxes are nothing more than treasure chests containing game-relevant items such as weapons. The loot boxes are also part of the game in other games such as Mario Kart. These chests have already been banned in Holland and Belgium.
The setting of limits and stake limits is also possible, very similar to what is common in online casinos. The game time can be set directly in the FIFA game or via web apps.
With these new, better measures it is possible for the players to regulate their game better and to get more insight into their gaming behavior. Electronic Arts plans to further expand the tool in the future and to adapt it to current player protection regulations.
Is the adjustment enough?
Electronic Arts has done its part, at least for now. Now it remains to be seen how the introduction of the new measures will be received by the authorities and others. Realistically, criticism of the loot boxes will continue to be made, as the addiction potential lies simply in the game mechanics. In particular, the uncertainty and tension about getting something rare for money are the two main ingredients of the addiction factor.
The loot boxing business is worth billions
The producers and distributors of games with loot boxes operate in a business worth billions. This also includes the company Apple, which markets games to young people through in-app purchases and receives very high commissions for this. In the USA, Apple has been sued several times for this reason.
The parties on the plaintiff’s side demand, among other things, that loot boxes are officially classified as a game of chance and should also fall under the relevant gaming law. While the USA is still waiting for a decision, the legal basis for this has been laid in Belgium and the Netherlands.