EA Origin has an Exploited Security Weakness

EA Origin is Electronic Art’s online PC game platform. It sells and acts as an online source for all games under their brand. There are approximately 300 million players who utilize EA Origin. According to security researchers from Check Point (A vulnerability research company), there is a huge security flaw that could affect many players.

The security flaw allowed hackers to steal people’s accounts without using the user’s logins and passwords. They could steal a Single Sign-On authorization token which Origin provides for players to stay signed in. This can be stolen without any user participation. Similar occurrences have happened to Fortnite and Facebook accounts. Through this loophole, hackers could gain access to EA’s subdomain and send malicious pages to players through EA websites. This could fool players as it would be their an actual EA website rather than a fake.

CyberInt and Check Point told EA back in Feb 19th but it still looks like they haven’t fixed it. However, EA’s Head of Security stated they are currently working on fixing it.

If you’re using EA Origin, be careful on whatever websites you are sent from EA.

Sources

CNET

European Gambling Regulators Team-Up to Stop Loot Boxes

15 gambling regulators from Europe and Washington, United States will work together to identify “the risks created by the blurring of lines between gaming and gambling.”  Below are the specific participants from each country.

Signatories to the “declaration of gambling regulators on their concerns related to the blurring of lines between gambling and gaming”.

  • Austria: Alfred Hacker, Director, Federal Ministry of Finance
  • Czech Republic: Karel Blaha, Director of the State Oversight Over Gambling Department
  • France: Charles Coppolani, Chair of the French Online Gaming Regulatory Authority
  • Gibraltar: Andrew Lyman, Executive Director, Gambling Division, HM Government of Gibraltar
  • Ireland: Brendan Mac Namara, Principal Officer, Gambling Policy Division, Department of Justice and Equality of Ireland
  • Isle of Man: Steve Brennan, Chief Executive, Gambling Supervision Commission
  • Jersey: Jason Lane, Chief Executive, Jersey Gambling Commission
  • Latvia: Signe Birne, Director of Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection of Latvia
  • Malta: Heathcliff Farrugia, Chief Executive Officer, Malta Gaming Authority
  • The Netherlands: Jan Suyver, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Netherlands Gambling Authority
  • Norway: Henrik Nordal, Director Deputy General, Norwegian Gaming Authority
  • Poland: Paweł Gruza, Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Finance
  • Portugal: Teresa Monteiro, Vice-President of Turismo de Portugal, I.P
  • Spain: Juan Espinosa García, CEO, Directorate General for Gambling Regulation
  • Washington State: David Trujillo, Director, Washington State Gambling Commission
  • UK: Neil McArthur, Chief Executive Officer, UK Gambling Commission

sweden-lootboxes-gambling

They will be targetting sites that promote gambling with video games. They will investigate sites that involve in-game skin gambling. These websites have users gambling their in-game skins rather than money. However, the skins have monetary values and can be considered gambling. The Telegraph reported over 400,00 British teens admitted to using similar websites.

The European Gambling Regulators will also identify whether loot boxes are considered gambling under national law. The laws are targetted towards parents and children. By identifying the lines between gambling and in-game items, parents should have a better understanding of their kids’ purchases.

I don’t think loot boxes will go away anytime soon but gaming companies will have to respond or adjust it before more laws are set in place.

Sources:

Eurogamer

Telegraph – 400,000 British teens lured into under-aged gambling through video games

Potential Lawsuit against EA for Loot Boxes

If there is any company that digs themselves into horrible PR messes, it has to be Electronic Arts. Following the disaster regarding the loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront 2, EA promised fans they would cut back on loot boxes for future games at E3 this summer. But apparently, they didn’t state they would remove loot boxes from their current games.

Belgium developed a law that bans “video game gambling for profit” which includes loot boxes. Companies such as Blizzard and 2K have removed their loot boxes from their games earlier this year but EA’s FIFA games still have card packs. Card packs give players the chance to obtain certain players to develop their “Ultimate Team.”  EA’s CFO, Andrew Wilson stated that the loot boxes in FIFA are not a form of gambling.

 “Firstly because players always receive a specified number of items in each pack, and secondly we don’t provide or authorize any way to cash out or sell items or virtual currency for real money..We’re working with all the industry associations globally and with regulators in various jurisdictions and territories, [and] have established that programs like FIFA Ultimate Team are not gambling,” said Wilson (Ars Technica)

Article intro image
Example of FIFA Card Pack

EA recently announced the odds of earning certain cards in July but some fan spent over $10,000 on developing his ultimate FIFA team. EA could potentially be sued by the Belgian government. There are penalties of up to €800,000 and five years in prison, which can be doubled if “minors are involved.” Considering that FIFA is rated E for everyone, the lawsuit could be a major loss in EA’s massive wallet. Whether Belgium will sue remains to be seen.

Sources:

Ars Technica

Rock Paper Shotgun – EA Odds

Eurogamer

 

 

Hazelight Studio’s continues to work with EA

Hazelight Studio created two critically acclaimed games: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and A Way Out. Both games focused on co-operative gameplay and unique stories based on bonds and friendship. I just finished A Way Out last week. It’s amazing and I’m looking forward to their next game. Josef Fares, the director, stated he will continue to work with Electronic Arts as their publisher for their next game.

Fares reached internet fame with his famous speech at the 2017 Video Game Awards show where he said: “Fuck the Oscars!” Despite EA’s reputation for ruining their studios’ games such as Mass Effect and Dead Space, Fares has only stated great experiences when working with them.

“It’s no problem. It’s super-good support. I don’t care what publisher I work with it’s going to be the same. This is how I work: I respect the economical aspect but nobody fucks with the vision – it’s very, very important. And they know it at EA now, and they’re super-supportive – super-supportive”

Image result for a way out

Don’t expect the new game soon. Fares has stated the game isn’t expected to release for two to three more year but they have begun their work. Although they have the concept down, it will be a different game than their previous works. Fares also stated that the new game will be a bigger production and longer experience than A Way Out. “It’s not triple-A big but it’s bigger than A Way Out.” Players complained that A Way Out was too short but stats showed only 50% of the player based finished the game. He clarified that the game is not a triple-A title due to the player perception that the game was similar to Uncharted. 

Business

A Way Out has sold more than one million digital units which is impressive from a small studio. Although the length of the game is short, it feels like a movie experience with a perfect length. If you’re curious how Fares and Electronic Arts have data on players playthroughs, the game has an agreement people can digitally sign to give their player data.

Sources:

Eurogamer