B.C. To File Loot Box Class-Action Lawsuit

By Ben Hamill - October 26 2020

B.C. To File Loot Box Class-Action Lawsuit

British Columbia is on the verge of its very first official loot box class action lawsuit. Filed on September 30 by plaintiffs Mark Sutherland and Shawn Moore, from British Columbia and Ontario, respectively, the suit alleges that loot boxes constitute gambling, and video games maker Electronic Arts (EA) is there for operating a gambling business without the required licence. The class action lawsuit application was reportedly filed at superior trial court the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

Due to the nature of the lawsuit, being that of a class action, were the action to emerge successful and ruled in favour of the plaintiffs, EA will be liable to many more people than only Sutherland and Moore. In fact, everyone in Canada who has purchased loot boxes from EA since 2008 will be covered by the claim.

The application apparently cites over 60 EA titles, including Mass Effect, Need for Speed, Apex Legends, Battlefield – as well as all of EA’s popular sports titles.

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The Controversy Continues

Loot boxes, and especially those offered by EA’s popular sports titles, have for several years now attracted a whole lot of negative attention from lawmakers in several countries the world over. EA’s FIFA Ultimate Team Pack has been named in several disputes as a game prying on the vulnerability of video gamers of all ages – not to mention a willingness to spend big money on microtransactions in an attempt to create the ultimate fantasy team of players.

One of the most popular football video games on the market today, FIFA Ultimate Team Pack invites players to sign a football dream-team using virtual player-packs containing in-game assets. The problem, however, is that players aren’t informed beforehand of the actual identity (value) of the player before paying for the asset, essentially making of the purchase a sort of luck of the draw kind of deal. Or in other words, a transaction not all that different to a gambling transaction.

What Are The Odds?

As for the B.C. lawsuit’s chances of actual success, this will most probably mostly depend on legal representation, as well as several other mitigating factors. If past successes in similar cases in other parts of the world are anything to by, however, the first class action lawsuit of the year filed against the video games maker over the issue of loot boxes is likely to end in a non-event.

EA reportedly has until around mid-November to file its response to the claims contained in the British Columbia lawsuit.

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