EA is insisting that it’s not pushing FIFA players to spend money on loot boxes.
The multi-part comments were released on the publisher’s website and come after CBC published a report which included leaked marketing documents from last year. The report details the company’s approach to FIFA Ultimate Team(FUT), a mode where players build their own team which can be improved by buying a randomized pack of players — FIFA’s loot boxes — in the game. Players can obtain these packs through in-game currency, FUT coins or by buying them with real money, the loot boxes have been labelled as gambling.
The internal marketing documents revealed the publisher’s aim to ‘funnel’ players from the game’s non-monetized mode and ‘convert’ them to FUT. The mode is described in the documents as EA’s cornerstone of the game including that EA is ‘doing everything we can to drive players there’ and that ‘all roads lead to FUT’.
CBC got its hands on the marketing documents through an insider who leaked them because “he and others he knows who work on video games don’t feel good about projects that include loot boxes”.
“We can’t really do anything about it because at the end of the day, [the] company is trying to make money and satisfy investors,” the CBC insider says. “For years… they’ve been able to act with a layer of plausible deniability.”
The publisher has responded to the CBC report and has accused its context of being a “sensationalized story with a misrepresentation of the facts” and insisting that they ‘do not ‘push’ people to spend in our games’. EA says that the decision to spending money in FUT is entirely optional and that they “take very seriously our responsibility to provide players a safe and fun experience”. EA stays on message and denies its loot boxes are gambling even with countries considering legislation against microtransactions with Belgium banning right out the gate.
“We also firmly disagree that FIFA or any of our games involve gambling,” EA said. “Regulators in multiple countries around the world have stated publicly that where there is no cashout method, loot boxes do not constitute gambling.