Tougher loot box rules announced for PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch - Dexerto
Gaming

Tougher loot box rules announced for PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch

Published: 7/Aug/2019 21:21 Updated: 7/Aug/2019 21:43

by Bill Cooney

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Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have all agreed to work on new policies that would require games publishers to disclose loot box rarity odds to players.

Loot boxes are a common sight in almost every major online multiplayer game these days, but players have no idea of their chances of getting a valuable reward before they purchase or open one.

At the Federal Trade Comission’s Inside the Game Workshop on August 7, Entertainment Software Association chief counsel of tech policy Michael Warnecke announced the changes, according to gamesindustry.biz.

Respawn EntertainmentA ton of popular games, like EA’s Apex Legends, offer players loot boxes.

What are the new rules?

After talking about what the industry had done to address concerns about loot boxes in the past, Warnecke said the three publishers had committed even further.

“I’m pleased to announce this morning that Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony have indicated to ESA a commitment to new platform policies with respect to the use of paid loot boxes in games that are developed for their platform,” Warnecke said.

TreyarchPlayers often don’t know their chances of receiving a worthwhile reward when the open a loot box.

This change would apply to all games that use loot box systems and hopefully will give players a better idea of their chances before they buy any.

“Specifically, this would apply to new games and game updates that add loot box features,” Warnecke added. “And it would require the disclosure of the relative rarity or probabilities of obtaining randomized virtual items in games that are available on their platforms.”

EA/DiceIt seems like loot boxes are everywhere in games these days.

Getting paid to make loot boxes look good?

Another interesting development at the Inside the Game Workshop was Omeed Dariani, CEO of Online Performers Group revealing that a video game publisher has approached his clients to purposefully misrepresent how their loot boxes work, according to Polygon.

Dariani’s organization represents dozens of popular content creators, like Jose Antonio “Angry Joe” Vargas and Major League Baseball pitcher Trevor May.

“I’ve definitely been in a room where a publisher said, ‘We could do better odds on the packs that this person opens for promotional purposes.’” Dariani said, according to Polygon. “That’s only been one time.”

There’s no information available whether or not the new loot box rules will apply to games on PC though.

Loot boxes, for better or worse, appear to be here to stay, but at least players will soon know what they’re chances of getting something worthwhile when they open one up.

FIFA

EA SPORTS hit with FIFA 21 scripting lawsuit for “dictating outcomes”

Published: 1/Dec/2020 2:36 Updated: 1/Dec/2020 2:39

by Isaac McIntyre

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EA SPORTS has been hit with a new United States federal lawsuit, which alleges Electronic Arts “unlawfully increases game difficulty” ⁠— dubbed ‘scripting’ by a number of FIFA 21 fans ⁠— in a deliberate effort to sell more Ultimate Team packs.

The lawsuit, Zajonc v. Electronic Arts, was brought to Californian court by three FIFA 21 gamers, Jason Zajnoc, Danyael Williams, and Pranko Lozano. In the suit, they claimed EA SPORTS uses “deceptive practices” and “false advertising” to drive sales in their FUT mode.

The lawsuit suggests EA willingly and “unlawfully” tricks FIFA players into buying Ultimate Team loot boxes by “utilizing artificial intelligence technologies that adjust game difficulty dynamically.” As mentioned, this is known as ‘scripting’ by fans.

EA SPORTS
Zajonc v. Electronic Arts alleges FIFA 21 alters matches to sell loot boxes.

The main charge laid by the plaintiffs is based around EA’s failure to alert FIFA 21 customers about ‘scripting’ features, which are having a direct impact on matches.

“Unbeknownst to most… EA utilizes technologies like ‘Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment’ and ‘Adaptive Difficulty.’ These technologies use heuristic prediction and intervention to dictate or even influence outcomes, thereby keeping gamers more engaged,” the suit, filed in November, reads.

These features, DDA and AD, are designed to adjust player stat points ⁠— both on the front of the card, and in-game ⁠— in an effort to influence the result. This can lead to bad passes, poor shots, and wildly varying pace for FIFA players.

EA are "unlawfully" tricking FIFA players into buying Ultimate Team packs, the Californian lawsuit alleges.
EA SPORTS
EA is “unlawfully” tricking players into buying FIFA points and Ultimate Team packs, the Californian lawsuit alleges.

All of this, the plaintiffs allege, is designed to do one thing: sell more FIFA 21 Ultimate Team packs, dubbed “loot boxes” in similar cases. “This [triggers] a self-perpetuating cycle,” the complaint charges, “leading them to purchase additional player packs in hopes of receiving better players and being more competitive.”

According to the plaintiffs, EA SPORTS has violated Californian consumer protection laws, has conducted false advertising and unjust enrichment through their practices.

The case, which has not yet been certified as a class action, also regards EA’s other juggernaut franchises, including Madden and NHL. The NFL and hockey titles are two more games in EA’s stables that utilize an ‘Ultimate Team’ mode.

FIFA 21 players often report shots going off target, wrong passes, and slow players as "scripting" kicks in.
EA SPORTS
FIFA 21 players often report shots going off target, wrong passes, and slow players as “scripting” kicks in.

EA has responded to the Zajonc v. Electronic Arts lawsuit. The FIFA 21 publishers wrote, “We believe the claims are baseless and misrepresent our games.”

This is far from the first time EA SPORTS has come under fire for Ultimate Team packs either. The publishers have been accused of operating an “illegal” gambling system in Canada, and are facing $11.7m worth of fines in the Netherlands and France for similar reasons.

Earlier this year, EA hit an “all-time high” in FIFA microtransactions. The company made nearly $1 billion through in-game sales alone in Sep-Dec 2019. A slice of this was then used to lure David Beckham into an exclusive £40m rights deal.