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EA faces major lawsuit over loot boxes

Are video game loot boxes a form of gambling? Do video game companies deliberately induce compulsive behavior? Those are the questions that may, or may not, be answered as a class-action suit against video game giant Electronic Arts (EA).

The lawsuit was brought on by video game player Kevin Ramirez and involves 100 other players. Their allegations focus specifically on a line of loot boxes called, “EA’s Ultimate Team Packs.” These items give players the ability to assemble custom teams for popular games like FIFA and Madden. They also, according to the suit, are nothing more than gambling.

That is, of course, because there are no guarantees with loot boxes. The plaintiffs go on to say, “Purchased using real money, the Ultimate Team Packs are simply wagers on completely randomized chances within the game to win valuable professional players and other items for the EA gamer’s virtual sports team,” according to a report on Video Game Chronicles.

Ramirez, who lives in California, goes on to say that loot boxes fit the state’s definition of gambling in which a player plays for the chance to win something of value.

Whether Ramirez has a case or not is anybody’s guess. Courts and governments across the globe have been looking at this issue and there’s really no consensus. That said, there seems to be more agencies looking at the issue and it’s safe to say that EA and other loot box purveyors will be facing additional regulatory scrutiny as the year goes on