Gaming giant Electronic Arts, better known as EA, is being sued in Canada. The lawsuit is being brought against the publisher over the presence and perceived prevalence of loot boxes in many of its most popular gaming properties.
Why is EA being sued?
This news comes via gaming and law blog ThePatchNotes as well as Vancouver-based blog BusinessInVancouver. According to the latter, plaintiffs Mark Sutherland and Shawn Moore are bringing a class-action lawsuit against EA for "unjust enrichment" arising from what they see as an "illegal gambling system" perpetuated by the sale of loot boxes. This suit was originally brought against EA on September 30th this year.
According to ThePatchNotes, which has combed the Notice of Civil Claim for information, this suit is a "well-pled claim brought by an experienced legal team". Sutherland and Moore are arguing that provisions of the Canadian Criminal Code specifically prohibit unlicensed gambling, and that loot boxes in EA games such as FIFA, Madden NFL, Plants vs Zombies, and Apex Legends constitute unlicensed gambling.
What could this mean for EA?
The plaintiffs for this suit are, according to ThePatchNotes, seeking "essentially everything" EA has made via the sale of loot boxes since 2008. Of course, that would require the court to find in favor of the plaintiffs, which may or may not happen; the outcome of the suit is completely unclear at this point. EA has three weeks from the filing of the Notice of Civil Claim to respond, which would bring us to today as the final deadline for that response.
This isn't the first time EA has been in hot water for loot box sales. Back in 2019, EA was forced to stop selling loot boxes in FIFA by Belgian gaming regulators. Earlier this year, the publisher got into trouble for including a FIFA loot box advertisement in a toy catalog. For its own part, EA has claimed that loot boxes aren't gambling and are just like Kinder Eggs, the popular children's treat containing a random toy in each egg. We'll bring you more on this class action lawsuit - and EA's approach to loot boxes in gaming - as soon as we get it.
How do you feel about loot boxes in gaming? Let us know in the comments below!