An insider left an internal presentation by EA to the Canadian newspaper CBC leak out. It talks about how the publisher is actively pushing its players into the FIFA Ultimate Team Lootbox mode and encouraging them to invest real money. EA was forced to take a stand.
The debate about loot boxes in general and the dangers of FIFA Ultimate Team in particular has been simmering for years. With the explosive report, it is now picking up speed again. We report recent events.
Industry expert Petra Fröhlich explains in her column why the addictive factor of games is not a coincidence, but a calculation:
more on the subject
Opinion: Games are addicting and that’s on purpose!
Highly explosive report
The anonymous insider who decided to bring an internal EA presentation to the public explains a certain helplessness as motivation for the move. Many employees in the game industry would feel uncomfortable when it comes to loot boxes. However, they would not know what to do:
“We can’t really do anything about it because ultimately the company is trying to make money and keep investors happy.”
EA has repeatedly claimed in the past that the FIFA Ultimate Team mode is optional, just like investing is not necessary, since the real money currency FIFA Co ins can also be earned via gameplay.
The leaked Documentwhich was only intended for employees, but shows that EA is doing everything it can to bring players to FUT. Among other things, it says:
- We currently have more active players in FIFA than ever before (over 5.3 million daily users, over 3 million in FUT).
- The team is fully focused on captivating the current players until mid-September [engl. »to engage«].
- Players will be actively contacted throughout the summer and encouraged to convert.
- FUT is the cornerstone and we are doing everything we can to drive players there.
- The return of football [aus der Pandemie] will only help us and the plans are ready.
Accordingly, the highly profitable FUT mode is the focus of EA. The publisher apparently leaves no stone unturned to get FIFA players to “convert”. This probably means getting as many players as possible to switch to FUT mode.
On another page of the leaked presentation, EA speaks of: “All roads lead to FUT”. As a result, efforts are being made to get players from other game modes to Ultimate Team using teasers and electronic messages.
Pay2Win in Ultimate Team – How do sports games get away with it?
What makes FUT so tricky
FIFA Ultimate Team is completely about loot boxes, because in it you get particularly strong players for your own team in order to achieve success in competitions against other players. The so-called card packages are opaque and based on chance. The most valuable players have a negligible chance of appearing in such a package.
However, this prepares the ground for a flourishing black market, although EA has tried to counter it in the past. Because the distinction is important: According to the definition of many countries, it is only a real game of chance when you can have money paid out. This is theoretically possible through the black market.
We have prepared for you where the great dangers of loot boxes lie:
more on the subject
Video Game Addiction – Part 2: Is Lootboxing Addictive?
EA takes a stand
In one Statement EA now goes into the cause. The publisher accuses CBC of “misinterpreting” the facts for a “sensational story”. Then EA explains its point of view.
So you are constantly trying to get more players “into our modes”. However, EA does not “urge” players to spend money. Nor do they want to give the impression that spending money is better than earning FIFA Coins for free.
Critics have been countering this for years by saying that the grind for coins is too frustrating. In order to be able to play with the best players in FUT, you can’t avoid spending money.
EA explains that summer is a very active time in the community, which doesn’t make it unusual for FIFA to get special attention at this time. Furthermore, nothing in the internal document would contradict EA’s public position.
“Nothing in the leaked document contradicts this in any way – it shows how we support engagement in our game during the summer period, not the spending.”
EA also sees itself on the right side with regard to the danger for young people who could get on the wrong track due to the gambling-like mechanics of FIFA Ultimate Team. So EA provide accounts that allow parents control. Even gamers can regulate themselves by setting limits using FIFA Playtime.
EA also doesn’t encourage young players to spend money. However, this statement has been questioned as it was only recently Advertisement for Ultimate Team had to be removed from a UK toy magazine. Among other things, the issue of FIFA Points (the real money currency) was explicitly emphasized.
Ultimately, EA insists that the loot boxes in FIFA Ultimate Team are not a game of chance. Legislators in Belgium saw it differently, however, where loot boxes in games have been considered gambling since 2018. In numerous other countries, too, stricter regulation is being called for or is already being actively prepared.