EA has defended its use of lootboxes in FIFA 23 by calling the option to spend money on Ultimate Team packs “fair” and “a part of FIFA that players love”.
Speaking to Eurogamer, EA said that its FIFA Ultimate Team mode – in which players can earn packs that may or may not contain good players through gameplay, or buy them using real money – is an integral part of the game that fans of the long- running football franchise want to play.
“We wholeheartedly believe that Ultimate Team and FUT Packs, which have been part of the game for more than a decade, are a part of FIFA that players love,” EA said. “Fans love that the game reflects the real-world excitement and strategy of building and managing a squad. Giving players the choice to spend if they want to is fair.”
It added: “It’s worth saying that spending is entirely optional in our game, and we do not encourage spending over earning rewards through gameplay. FUT Packs work in just the same way whether they are paid for or earned, and most players don’t spend in game at all. For example, nine out of 10 FUT Packs opened in FIFA 22 were earned.”
Lootboxes have proved more and more controversial in recent years however, with EA often finding itself at the center of debate. Leaked documents from October last year revealed that the publisher seeks to “funnel” players towards Ultimate Team despite denying that this was the case publicly.
Countries including the Netherlands and Belgium have both banned lootboxes, with the former doing so following an investigation that looked specifically at FIFA 18 amongst other games. Lootboxes are deemed to be gambling in these countries, given that a player can spend pennies and receive a top-rated player or hundreds and receive very little of value, and as a result have seen other controversial games such as Diablo: Immortal passed over completely .
An investigation from the Norwegian Consumer Council in June (that was backed by 18 European countries) also found lootboxes to be manipulative and exploitative, but just last month the UK opted not to introduce lootbox laws.
Blizzard has announced that it will no longer be selling lootboxes in Overwatch, with these coming to an end completely as of August 30. The same seemingly isn’t happening for FIFA anytime soon, however, or at least EA’s new football franchise, as an executive commented last year that they can’t see the monetization model being changed.
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.