It feels like we’ve already run this route before (multiple times, in fact), but now Canada wants to take a stab at EA for the loot boxes in both Madden and FIFA titles. Most recently, plaintiff Kevin Ramirez filed a class-action lawsuit against EA for the Ultimate Team loot boxes in Madden and FIFA, claiming the loot boxes violated California’s gambling laws. Canada’s class action claims the exact same thing, albeit for violating Canada’s gambling laws instead of California’s.
Plaintiffs Mark Sutherland and Shawn Moore claim that these franchises violate Canada’s criminal laws by operating “an unlicensed, illegal gaming system through their loot boxes.” In addition, their suit claims that the way EA implements the loot boxes breaks several Canadian consumer protection statutes. They specifically point out the fact that the games do not publish the reward odds. Also, the games semi-require these loot boxes to progress in the games.
EA games under fire
The two specifically list 61 individual games EA published since 2008 that use loot boxes in this fashion. In addition to the FIFA and Madden franchises, this list includes NHL, NBA Live, UFC, Apex Legends, Battlefield, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Need for Speed, Plants vs. Zombies, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Command & Conquer, The Sims Mobile, WarFriends, and Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes.
“The senior officers and directors of the Defendants were at all times fully aware of the unlawful nature of their enterprise and took active steps to carry it out,” the initial filing reads. “In the alternative, the senior officers and directors of the Defendants were reckless or willfully blind to the unlawful nature of their enterprise and took active steps to implement it.”
If EA loses this lawsuit, the company could be forced to pay back everything it made from loot boxes since 2008. That said, though, it’s a big “if,” especially since these class-action lawsuits rarely achieve everything that the plaintiffs request.