EA's "Surprise Mechanics"

OBH

PESadvocate
6 March 2019
Tottenham
Has anyone else seen this?
This week EA & Epic were speaking to a UK parliamentary panel to discuss their loot boxes (not a court case, just a hearing) and it's appalling.

Some of the nonsense to come out their mouths include:

"We don't call them Loot Boxes, they're Surprise Mechanics"
There have been some hilarious meme-worthy things in the world, but this has got to be right up there with one of the best. Funnily how as little as two weeks ago EA themselves said 'no loot boxes in Jedi Fallen Order' yet now they're in front of parliament the name has suspiciously changed.

"We disagree with the evidence that 'Surprise Mechanics' leads to gambling problems"
You can't 'disagree' with the evidence - because it's evidence!

"I don't think it's possible to spend £1600 on Loot Boxes in a day"
................just..... oh my god....

"We class frequent players as people who play out game twice every 30 days"
............................................

For anyone interested, this is the live full 15min video, followed by articles on it or youtube videos if you prefer.
 
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manmachine

League 1
22 June 2008
Yeah, that was hilarious. Hopefully something can be done soon.
I'm not saying they should ban them completely, but if there are regulations & restrictions on gambling/betting and other activities with similarly addicting (and potentially life ruining for some) "surprise mechanics" then it's only fair to see them applied to lootboxes as well.
 

Loopy

ForcaBarca
14 November 2018
FC Barcelona
Has anyone else seen this?
This week EA & Epic were speaking to a UK parliamentary panel to discuss their loot boxes (not a court case, just a hearing) and it's appalling.

Some of the nonsense to come out their mouths include:

"We don't call them Loot Boxes, they're Surprise Mechanics"
There have been some hilarious meme-worthy things in the world, but this has got to be right up there with one of the best. Funnily how as little as two weeks ago EA themselves said 'no loot boxes in Jedi Fallen Order' yet now they're in front of parliament the name has suspiciously changed.

"We disagree with the evidence that 'Surprise Mechanics' leads to gambling problems"
You can't 'disagree' with the evidence - because it's evidence!

"I don't think it's possible to spend £1600 on Loot Boxes in a day"
................just..... oh my god....

"We class frequent players as people who play out game twice every 30 days"
............................................

For anyone interested, this is the live full 15min video, followed by articles on it or youtube videos if you prefer.
You understand that this was the exact reason that they're adding the Volta Street Football mode this year? Instead of pay to win transactions, you'll be able to buy customization and maybe even ability boosts

EA are honestly a joke
 

OBH

PESadvocate
6 March 2019
Tottenham
You understand that this was the exact reason that they're adding the Volta Street Football mode this year? Instead of pay to win transactions, you'll be able to buy customization and maybe even ability boosts

EA are honestly a joke
No, I didn't know that.
Says a lot that about EA that I'm not surprised though!

It's the random element that should be banned. If you're paying real money, you should be able to see exactly what it is you're getting.

"Surprise mechanics" is hilarious though, and it's already a total meme fest "it isn't murder, it's a surprised slaying".
 

majuh

Champions League
11 December 2010
You understand that this was the exact reason that they're adding the Volta Street Football mode this year? Instead of pay to win transactions, you'll be able to buy customization and maybe even ability boosts

EA are honestly a joke
EA has already confirmed there are no Volta microtransactions at launch.
 

Loopy

ForcaBarca
14 November 2018
FC Barcelona
EA has already confirmed there are no Volta microtransactions at launch.
Where? Show me this article or interview please. Also the keyword there is AT LAUNCH. They could add some pretty easily
 

OBH

PESadvocate
6 March 2019
Tottenham
A bill is also currently going through the US system. Apparently though it's so broad that every game that has any microtransactions of any kind is likely to be affected. Now this isn't necessarily bad, but games that operate in exactly the same was any shop (as in you see the item you want, you see how much it costs, you choose to buy it or not) do not deserve to be penalised for that as they're not doing anything sneaky. Yes, games like the recent Mortal Kombat may have had a horrendous price model (would take roughly 2000h playtime, or over £2000 to unlock all the skins) but you're not spinning a virtual slot machine. It's more like shopping in an overpriced shop.

The thing though, is apparently sports games will hit every single criteria of this bill, so they will need to make sweeping changes to how UT & MyClub if they want to make the same sort of money.

Honestly, full lengthed 5min long adverts will be in sports games before long. You'll spend the same amount of time watching an advert at half time as you will playing the game.
 

bsmaff

International
11 August 2003
Welwyn Garden
Exeter City
Another day, another incident of children emptying their parents' bank accounts. Now that's a "surprise mechanic".

BBC NEWS: "The kids emptied our bank account playing FIFA"
The problem with that story though, is the blame could be put on the parents.
The account was not very secured and the kids could easily buy more packs, no additional security was set up on the account.

On my daughters tablet and on my Xbox, I have all the security switched on so you have to enter the password every time you make a purchase and I would never give my daughter the password. Although she would not purchase anything without asking first, as she understands that it costs money.

When I read these types of stories it normally comes across as it is the parents fault and 90% of the time it is.
In this case I believe it was the parents fault and surprised Nintendo gave them the money back.

However it is disgusting from EA that they bought £550 worth of packs and never got 'Messi', but then that's why I would never buy any packs as you know there is probably only a 0.0001% chance of getting Messi or Ronaldo.

This isn't just an EA problem, there are hundreds of games and many of them Android/iOS games which have these 'surprise mechanics', and not just adult games.
 

Chris Davies

Chief PESsimist
Staff
14 May 2003
Tranmere Rovers
However it is disgusting from EA that they bought £550 worth of packs and never got 'Messi', but then that's why I would never buy any packs as you know there is probably only a 0.0001% chance of getting Messi or Ronaldo.
There is an article mentioned in another thread this morning, that's been out there for a while:

In that article, the guy spends $10,000 (across FIFA 17 and 18) and still ended up having to buy his best players via "auctions", not packs.

In a different article that talks specifically about FUT pack odds:

Eurogamer: FIFA 19 discloses pack odds

It's revealed that your odds of getting the players advertised on packs are "less than 1%". Based on calculations by hardcore players, it's certainly less than 0.1%, as you say.

Which is why it's so annoying when someone's response is simply "blame the parents". It's obviously the parents' fault for not locking out payment options - but that's not the end of the story.

It's false advertising, it's pay-to-win (even if you end up just quick-selling the players you "pack" to afford someone in an auction, you're converting real money into coins to buy the best players in the game) and I will never understand someone who thinks this is a good thing - especially when it's simply someone's default position because shutting it down would be anti-capitalistic.
 
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3 November 2009
England
Liverpool FC
Another day, another incident of children emptying their parents' bank accounts. Now that's a "surprise mechanic".

BBC NEWS: "The kids emptied our bank account playing FIFA"
The responsibility lies with the parents to ensure they have child security on their account but at the same time, a lot of parents who aren't very educated on the evolution of tech and the precautions and learn things the hard way.

It's the next evolution of parenting now. It used to be you had to get savvy with social media and accept it's popularity and monitor your child's activity & interactions on it. Now it's monitoring what they watch on YouTube and understanding the culture of video games having in game stores now that can lure children into making seamless purchases. It's understandable that this is a part of society now and that you may find it unreasonable to shield your child and have them miss out but you can't just let YouTube and games to babysit them either without understanding how they operate either.

However this quote from the article sums up the ethics of the industry pretty powerfully & succinctly.

"You pay £40 for the game, which is a lot of money in itself, but then the only way to get a great team is essentially by gambling," he said, referring to online play.

"They spent £550 and they still never got their favourite player, Lionel Messi."
 
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