Class action launched on behalf of British Columbians who bought loot boxes in EA video games | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Class action launched on behalf of British Columbians who bought loot boxes in EA video games

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Electronic Arts Inc. may have committed deceptive acts or practices by selling loot boxes to gamers in B.C.

Mark Sutherland filed a class-action lawsuit against EA in the Supreme Court of B.C. It cites 70 games that have been published since 2008, all of which contain loot boxes, which he says are "addictive elements."

Loot boxes provide players with virtual items and can be purchased with real-world money. The lawsuit alleges some gameplay is not possible without obtaining loot boxes.

Although loot boxes can also be earned for free through gameplay, EA drives “players to purchase virtual currency to purchase loot boxes by deliberately structuring game play so the time involved is unrealistically long,” the lawsuit alleges.

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Some loot boxes offer content at random, and the value of items inside can vary, which the lawsuit compares to gambling and alleges is a breach of the Criminal Code. It says EA did not disclose the odds of getting each particular item until 2019, and have only provided disclosure that offers no “meaningful certainty” since then.

Items obtained through loot boxes can be sold for real-world money, and the lawsuit alleges the loot is “almost always” worth less than the cost of purchase.

“… so a class member wagering by opening a loot box stands to lose their money’s worth, except on the rare occasion when a player obtains a high value item.”

However the claim that EA is engaging in unlawful gambling is bound to fail, Justice Margot Fleming decided.

Sutherland also alleged that EA committed deceptive and unconscionable acts or practices under the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act.

The lawsuit has been approved to move forward as a class action proceeding. Justice Fleming agreed the case disclosed a cause of action for the claim that EA committed a deceptive act, but she struck down the unconscionability claim.

Both parties are allowed to make further submissions in response to the reasons for judgement published on March 14.

EA Games issued an emailed statement to

“We’re pleased that the trial court rejected, as a matter of law, the allegations of unlawful gaming," spokesperson Chris Potter said. "The court’s decision reaffirms our position that nothing in our games constitutes gambling.”

None of the allegations in this lawsuit have been proven in court.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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