Another victory for gamers occurred Tuesday when Hawaiian State Representative Chris Lee announced an investigation into what he calls the predatory behavior of video game company EA after the release of their latest game, Star Wars Battlefront 2.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_akwfRuL4os" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
The game has been surrounded by negative press and condemned by gamers worldwide after its Loot Crate system was revealed to offer a gambling system tied to core mechanics. The Loot Crates can be purchased with real money but offer prizes at random making what some say is an online casino marketed to underage children.
Democratic State Representative Chris Lee said in a public statement, "This game is a Star Wars-themed online casino. It’s a trap." Lee criticized the company for using predatory practices that prey on people with addictive personalities just like casinos. The Goldwater recently reported on an investigation by the Belgium Gambling Commission into whether the games Loot Crates should be marketed as gambling.
After the unwanted negative attention and 24 hours after the European Gambling Commission's announcement, EA removed the ability to spend money in the game altogether much to the surprise and delight of fans who considered the move a win.
If the system is found to be a form of online gambling, EA could face millions of dollars in fines and legal repercussions. The drama that is unfolding surrounding the game is changing the gaming industry and wherever the investigations lead will likely set a precedent for future games.
It is difficult to say if Hawaii's investigation will lead to actual legislation against loot boxes but it is a step in the right direction and a long-needed look into what amount to online casinos for children.
Tips? Info? Send me a message!