EA has denied that “game insiders” have “pushed” FIFA players to spend money on loot boxes after leaking marketing documents to mainstream publications.
CBC’s GoPublic has released two pages from an internal FIFA 21 document that describes the company’s approach to Ultimate Team, a controversial mode with a loot box labeled gambling.
“FUT is the foundation and we do everything we can to get players there,” says the bullet point at the top of the document.
Another page leaked from the docs contains a line that says “all roads lead to FUT”, revealing EA’s plans to “funnel” players from other modes towards FUT. I will.
Go Public reports that insiders leaked documents because “he and others he knows working in video games aren’t happy with the project, including the loot box.”
“After all, we can’t do anything about it. [the] The company aims to make money and satisfy investors. “
Another internal EA document states that FUT coins, the in-game currency earned through play, are called “grind currency”.
Insiders are having trouble getting FIFA 21 to direct their customers to FUT. They have already offered the full amount of the game and may be enjoying modes other than FUT.
“For years … they were able to act in a plausible layer of denial,” the insider reportedly said.
“But their internal documentation says,” This is our goal. We want people to drive into card pack mode. ” “”
EA attacked Go Public, accusing it of being a “sensational story with misrepresentations of facts.”
In a long statement issued to , EA said: “We are always looking for opportunities to introduce the mode of the game to more players. It is always our focus because FIFA players are expecting fresh content that will excite the service.”
EA insisted that “we don’t” push “people to spend on our games.”
“When we offer that choice, we take great care not to drive spending more than making money in the game. The majority of FIFA players don’t spend money on in-game items.”
One line of internal documentation says, “Players can actively send messages and encourage conversions during the summer.”
EA defends the statement, saying that summer is a very active time within the FUT community, “making sure that much of the new content and community events in the game are focused there.”
“The new content we introduce throughout the year includes a wide range of non-monetary rewards,” continued EA. “The decision to spend is always completely arbitrary.”
Then, “The leaked documentation is consistent with this. It shows how we support our involvement in the game, not spending, during the summer.”
EA continues to emphasize that position:
“We take our responsibility very seriously to provide our players with a safe and enjoyable experience.
“We do not recommend young players to participate in the game. We strongly recommend using Family Control to control the content your child has access to, the ability to spend on the game, and the amount of time they can play. The EA PC gaming platform also includes dedicated child and teen accounts, so all players and their parents can informedly choose how to play, and use tools such as FIFA Playtime. Players can then control how they play, including the ability to set limits, to manage their involvement and purchases. “
Next, EA again denied the claim that the FIFA loot box was gambling. “We also do not firmly agree that either FIFA or our game involves gambling,” EA said.
“Regulators in multiple countries around the world have publicly stated that loot boxes do not constitute gambling if there is no cash-out method.
“We take great care to ensure that the game is played as designed, including taking action against those who violate the rules for out-of-game transactions. Proposed in the United States or Canada. I don’t think any of the recent proceedings will benefit. I’m sure the court will agree.
“Recently, a judge in US federal court dismissed the proceedings, pointing out that” the lack of real-world transferable value to an item is outside the scope of gambling law. ” We believe that every aspect of EA’s game constitutes gambling. “
And finally, “I hope these facts will be expressed more accurately in the future. In the meantime, FIFA Ultimate Team players will be able to play their favorite games and have the best possible experience. I’m working hard every day. “
It’s worth checking out the EA statement here to see if it’s being scrutinized. I don’t think anyone playing FIFA will be surprised to hear that EA is focusing on the Ultimate Team. After all, this is the company’s money spinner, bringing hundreds of millions of dollars to EA each year. FIFA players have long accused EA of ignoring non-FUT mode in-game (see, for example, the recent situation regarding ProClub and Career mode).
To the next line: “We don’t” push “people to spend on our games. If we offer that choice, we are very careful not to promote spending more than making money in the game, and the majority of FIFA players never spend money-game items. “
It may be true that the vast majority of FIFA players never spend on in-game items, but many have problems with the proposal that FUT never “push” to spend on people. Ultimate Team has long been called “pay to win” by professional players.
With a recent feature, FIFA pro Zelonius says he’s spent about £ 5,000 on the Ultimate Team over the last three years to compete in the competitive multiplayer part of the mode.
EA has also been accused of creating highly desirable icon cards, such as the moment versions of the icon cards of legendary players Maldini, Frit, Viera, Cruyff, Ronaldo, Zidane and Eusebio. -Turn fuels spending on the black market.
The EA then uses FOMO (FOMO) through a limited-time card release. It has been accused of encouraging players to spend money in short, sharp bursts when bidding to get cards that they think will never be available.
“Spend decisions are always completely voluntary,” EA claims. That is not entirely true. Certain cards are only available via card packs due to lack of release methods or in-game auction houses.
“We don’t encourage young players to spend on our games,” EA claims. In September, EA pulled out a controversial FIFA microtransaction ad that encouraged kids to spend real-world money on the ultimate team loot box.
In a statement to issued at the time, EA said it had conducted an immediate review of all future media placements, stating that FIFA Point ads should not have appeared in toy magazines in the first place. I admitted.
“We also do not firmly agree that either FIFA or our game involves gambling,” EA said. “Regulators in multiple countries around the world have publicly stated that loot boxes do not constitute gambling if there is no cash-out method. The game is as designed, including taking action against those who violate the rules. We take great care to be played in. For out-of-game transactions. “
As reports, there are a lot of cash outs available for Ultimate Team. A quick look online shows that despite EA’s best efforts, the black market for buying and selling FUT coins is alive and kicking.
Loot boxes are not currently considered a type of gambling in many countries, but some do so and others, including the United Kingdom, are investigating the possibility.
At the beginning of April, a new study “certainly validated” the link between loot boxes and gambling addiction.
Researchers at the University of Plymouth and the University of Wolverhampton said the loot box is “structurally and psychologically similar to gambling.” We also found that many children had loot boxes open.
According to a new survey commissioned by the GambleAware charity, up to 40% of 93% of children playing video games had loot boxes open. In addition, 12 of 13 studies on loot boxes established a “clear” relationship with behavioral gambling addiction, with young men most likely to use loot boxes, younger age and lower education. Was also found to correlate with increased use.
According to the report, many games use “psychological nudge” to encourage people to buy loot boxes, including the fear of missing limited-time items and special discounts.
This is clearly visible on the FIFA Ultimate team. The FIFA Ultimate Team trades regularly on FOMO by releasing powerful and coveted cards in limited quantities or for a limited period of time.
I think the leak of EA’s internal marketing documents here is a red herring. It’s not surprising to see FUT pushed from such FIFA 21 documents. I think marketing documentation from rival publishers uses a similar language to explain pushing players to the part of the game that produces repetitive spending.
It is However, while it’s worth analyzing EA’s response, it’s not only possible to see if it’s maintained, but also to know the company’s stance on ongoing attacks on Golden Goose. Pressure on loot boxes seems to be increasing, and EA is willing to let go of revenues from markets such as Belgium, while sticking to revenues from the historically obsessed United Kingdom and elsewhere. With the Ultimate Team until the last second.