It seems that the anti-loot box initiative is finally taking shape in the US as Electronic Arts found themselves at the end of a class-action lawsuit over Ultimate Team packs.
As reported by VGC, plaintiff Kevin Ramirez filed the lawsuit on the behalf of more than 100 others in the Northern District of California, alleging that EA's Ultimate Team packs, or loot boxes if you prefer, are in fact gambling and should be treated as such.
Ramirez is demanding a jury trial and damages of $5 million over EA' Ultimate Team packs. The lawsuit alleges that the packs are "predatory" and created with the exploitation of addictive behaviours in mind, which helps EA generate a huge chunk of their existing revenue.
"EA's Ultimate Team Packs are Loot Boxes. Buying the Packs are nothing more than a gambling bet [...] 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", the lawsuit reads.
Ramirez claims he has spent more than $600 himself on FIFA and NFL Ultimate Team packs in the period from 2011 up to date.
He insists that Ultimate Team packs are unequivocally gambling given California's definition of an illegal gambling device, which states, "a machine, aperture, or device; something of value is given to play; and the player may receive something of value by element of chance."
The lawsuit likens this to gamers who use their devices to access EA Sports games; pay real-world currency for Ultimate Team packs and then depend on randomised chance to win.
Even though the US was among the first countries where concerns were raised over loot boxes, very little has been done to address these. Belgium and the Netherlands have since made EA remove them in the countries, with the UK being among the last countries to declare them gambling.