Did you know that EA is evil? Anyone who has been paying attention to the gaming industry with any amount of scrutiny over the last few years does. There is a big group of AAA gaming corporations who are now associated with being pure evil. You have Activision, Ubisoft, now Bethesda, and EA. These companies are all rushing to the center to tell you, the consumer, how much you need to buy their unfinished, microtransaction-laden games. But EA really has risen above the rest in terms of sheer greed.
Microtransactions, more specifically lootboxes, have been coming under increasing scrutiny by the various governments of the world. Denmark and Belgium outlawed them in games available to young people entirely. The US put forward a bill designed to do the same thing. It’s recently gained bipartisan support. Now the UK is stepping up to the plate, and EA decided to put their “best foot forward” and have a representative come and talk to them about why their views on lootboxes are dead wrong.
For starters, did you know that the term lootboxes is a derogatory term for “surprise mechanics?” That’s the line that EA had in the testimony that I highly recommend you check out. It will blow your mind just how much euphemisms the EA representative tried to use with the Parliamentary representatives. It was just too great to watch the look of exasperation on the face of the guy questioning the EA rep as they feed them line after line of complete bullshit. The person talks about how it’s just like a Kinder egg, or a pack of cards.
That is some weapons-grade BS. Those things are NOTHING like gaming lootboxes. For starters, when you open a Kinder egg, you know that inside will be a cheap plastic toy. It is a guarantee that that is the produce that will be inside. What kind of toy it is, you don’t know, but it will be a plastic toy. Same with trading cards, except you know there will be trading cards instead of a plastic toy. Lootboxes, meanwhile, can have something that is valuable to you in a game, or complete crap. In fact, by design, they will almost-certainly have cheap crap more often than genuinely useful things. There are patents that have been made with this stuff showing how they are deliberately made to keep a person strung along and paying more money. Specifically kids, with their parent’s money. What’s more, they play little sounds and light up and it gives you a rush of endorphins. Like when you win big on a slot machine.
Watch the video of the committee in the UK talking to the woman EA sent. It’s pretty fantastic how you can see the committee representative questioning her getting more and more exasperated as she is feeding him more and more crap, clearly written by a lawyer. But then you think to yourself – EA is scared. They have to be. Their office must be shitting bricks right about now. See, lootboxes are their big cash-cow. Microtransactions in general have been a cash cow for big gaming companies, but lootboxes took it to a whole new level. Since it is gambling (there’s no way to argue that it isn’t), they can make more and more money off people who want the thing they want in a game. The gaming audience fights back when it’s pay-to-win mechanics, but even with cosmetic items, they still make money like gangbusters.
With more and more countries starting to introduce legislation that is getting large support among various political parties, companies like EA have to be scared to death that their big cash cow is about to be dried out, leaving them to have to make money the old fashioned way, by actually giving people what they want. There’s a scary thought. For them.
No joke, it really is. Look at how hard they pushed that single-player gaming is dead. They continually tried to push that games as a service model is the future, and people just don’t know it yet. Since tons of gaming journalist websites are just shills for big gaming companies, they played along with articles written about the topic. Meanwhile, developers who know better took the time to have a LOT of fun at EA’s expense marketing their single-player games. Bethesda was the big one. How ironic, given how far they’ve fallen trying to cash in on the games as a service model with their shit-tastic Fallout 76. CD Projekt Red also did, and given what they’ve shown of their latest project, I can say that they are well within their rights.
At E3 this year, they unveiled their latest single-player game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. The gameplay trailer looked pretty slick. EA also put out a statement that the game would have no microtransactions and no lootboxes. But given that they now consider lootboxes to be “surprise mechanics,” who knows if we can trust this statement anymore. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of this game, it seems that Disney doesn’t like the violence and has forced EA to censor it.
Let’s take a digression to talk about how evil Disney is. Wanna know something fun about Disney and how evil they are? If you live in Kyrgyzstan and make $5 a day with a business you have putting characters on cakes using a sugar gizmo that can do that, and you put Disney characters on cakes, their lawyers will seek out your tiny business and sue you. No joke. They are the so protective of their shit that they will hunt down anyone, anywhere, who is using it without their permission and take them to court. Disney is the most evil corporation in existence. Let’s not even get into their cash-grab remakes that shits on their licenses and the legacies of people (looking at you, Aladdin remake).
AAA gaming publishers are nervous right now, and I say all the better for it. I hope that companies like EA lost hundreds of millions of dollars when their cash cow dries up. I hope that their investors turn on them like rabid dogs. Of course, that will mean they are just going to lay off employees because they will screw everyone else before they screw the people in charge of these corrupt corporations. Lots of people say it would be really bad if some of these companies go under, but not me. I want one or two of them to fail so that the others will start to realize that they need to change up to survive. Go back to what EA used to stand for – power to the players. But that’s just me.
Until next time, a quote,
“Wake the fuck up, Samurai. We’ve got a city to burn.” – Johnny Silverhand, Cyberpunk 2077