Video game executives were grilled by U.K. Members of Parliament (MPs) over concerns that video game mechanics like loot boxes could be harmful. Representatives from companies like EA and Epic Games did their best to downplay concerns, even going so far as to call loot boxes "surprise mechanics."
When asked by the MPs about loot boxes, EA's VP of legal and governmental affairs Kerry Hopkins instead referred to them as "surprise mechanics" and compared thems to "Kinder Eggs, or Hatchimals, or LOL Surprise."
When pressed on the issue by Scottish National Party MP, Brendan O'Hara, Hopkins said that loot box mechanics in games like FIFA Ultimate Team are, "actually quite ethical and quite fun, quite enjoyable to people."
Representatives for Epic Games were also present, but didn't fair that much better against the MPs questions. When asked if Epic Games believed its games were addictive, Epic marketing director Matt Weissinger said the company did not.
The questioning from U.K. MPs comes on the heels the E.U.'s deeper investigation into the addictive properties of loot boxes, as well as the recent decision by the World Health Organization to classify Gaming Disorder as a disease.
Countries like Belgium and the Netherlands have already outlawed lootboxes in games, and companies like EA and Epic have been forced to take down the mechanics in certain European regions. The ESA has also vehemently pushed back against the WHO's decision to classify gaming addiction.
There is currently legislation in the United States congress to take bigger action against lootboxes, potentially even outlawing the mechanic altogether for underage gamers. Questions to game industry leaders regarding loot boxes will likely continue as more loot box laws move through various legislatures.