The UFC-Que Choisir association struck again today in the video game industry. She denounces the abuses linked to an element that is found a lot in modern games and which is however very problematic. She warns publishers who abuse this practice and even threatens to sue Electronic Arts.
UFC-Que Choisir is cracking down on this dubious practice
Extremely important publisher in the video game industry, Electronic Arts does not really have a good reputation with many players. Accused of financing games that are often very (too) classic like Ubisoft, or of relying on successful licenses without renewing them (we think of Fifa which will soon change name), the publisher is mainly accused of using and abusing lootboxes.
For players who are not yet familiar with the term, these are “loot boxes” that allow you to unlock in-game items. Often allowing the unlocking of exclusively aesthetic content, they sometimes provide bonuses that accelerate the progress of the player or take the advantage over his opponents in online games. This is for example the case with the Fifa from EA in the “Ultimate Team” mode, in which it is possible to unlock better players thanks to lootboxes.
Inevitably, this often leads to abuse by publishers, which denounces the UFC-Que Choisir in an article published yesterday on its official website, titled The industry needs to stop playing you. But the association is not content to denounce lootboxes in video games as it does. “since 2017”. Nope, it warns publishers and threatens to turn to justice if nothing changes.
Ea games in the sights of UFC-Que Choisir
In its article, UFC-Que Choisir refers to a report published last night by the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC), which underlines several failures on the part of certain publishers vis-à-vis European regulations, that the association does not consider protective enough, while among the players there are nevertheless many “young people or adolescents, particularly vulnerable to cognitive biases”. Here are the reported abuses:
– [Les éditeurs] first trick consumers into ultimately spending large sums of money by exploiting the vulnerabilities of their young audience, through aggressive marketing, numerous cognitive biases, and misleading odds of winning.
– [Les éditeurs] then use virtual currencies to hide or distort the true costs of that content.
It is therefore a financial policy that does not respect players that is denounced, especially since practices are often misleading: for example, it is common for the price of in-game points to be purchased with real money not to be stated explicitly prior to purchase. It is for this reason that UFC-Que Choisir, “alongside 19 European consumer associations”, “requires stricter regulation notably through the prohibition of misleading designs, the establishment of additional protections for minors as well as the transparency of transactions”.
Requirements formulated in very explicit ways, therefore, addressed to several publishers but above all to EA Games, which is officially put on notice “to display in euros the prices of the content it sells in its video games” and who will face legal action if nothing is done in the near future.