Loot Boxes Are Surprise Mechanics is a quote by Electronic Arts Vice President of Legal and Government Affairs Kerry Hopkins during a hearing held by the UK Parliament Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in response to a question about if she thought Loot Boxes were an ethical practice. Her quote led to widespread coverage by gaming news outlets, and became a meme with which to mock EA and its games and practices on Reddit.
On June 19th, 2019, EA sat before the UK Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee to discuss immersive and addictive technologies. The hearing involved witnesses Kerry Hopkins and UK Country Manager Shaun Campbell of EA, as well as Epic Games representatives Matthew Weissinger, Director of Marketing, and Canon Pence, General Counsel, speaking about Fortnite. During the hearing, MP Brendan O'Hara asked the panel of witnesses if they considered loot boxes an ethical feature of their games, then opened the floor to Hopkins. Hopkins objected to use of the term "loot boxes," saying "we don't call them loot boxes, we look at it as 'surprise mechanics.'" She compared them to surprise toys like Kinder Eggs and said they're "quite ethical" (shown below).
The quote made headlines, as sites like Endgadget, Polygon, and Kotaku ran articles about it. On YouTube, the quote inspired vitriolic response videos from commenters. For example, YouTuber YongYea posted a response to the quote that gained over 731,000 views (shown below, left), as did Drift0r, who gained over 72,000 views (shown below, right).
Meanwhile, on Reddit, users made image macros and other memes about the quote. Popular examples include a post by TruProGamer1 in /r/memes that gained over 65,000 points (shown below, left). User jameshogg1 posted a reference to Portal making fun of the quote in /r/gaming, gaining over 8,200 points (shown below, right).