EA has been forced by public opinion to remove the controversial FIFA 21 ad from a kid’s magazine.
EA’s marketing campaign team decided that it was a good idea to put an ad of FIFA 21 in a kids magazine, the problem is that it incentivizes a young audience to fall in a loop of spending money on a lottery system that hopefully could reward the kid with a player like Cristiano Ronaldo, Leonel Messi or Kylian Mbappe.
The ad was shared by the Twitter account FIFA21 Mistakes, the backlash was immediate, and EA was in the need to remove the ad.
— FIFA21Mistakes (@AllFifaMistakes) September 26, 2020
In the UK, The House of Lords Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry stated that according to academic research, it has been proved a connection between, the polemic micro-transaction model often referred to as loot boxes, and gambling.
“It is illegal for any child under 16 years old to take part in any form of commercial gambling”. Says the Committee.
The European Parlament has taken a lead role in defining and try to regulate games that feature the controversial monetization practice in their games, for that reason, the practice has been scrutinized and, as expected, has been defined as a way of gambling. The study found that developers are implementing mechanics that create an “irresistible urge to play” and a “growing tension” that could only be relieved by playing.
EA seems to be reluctant to change the way they monetize FIFA 21, but some progress has been done to warn parents and vulnerable customers that the game features a loot-box mechanics, that will make the game pay to win or at least create a strong desire to spend on microtransactions.
The ESRB has a new interactive element is called the ‘In-Game Purchases’, and it will warn parents and buyers when a game offers the ability to purchase additional items without leaving the game.
Epic Games boss, Tim Sweeney has also openly discussed the business practice, he explains that the current trend of some developers is harming the customers, he directly points at Facebook and Google. He also raised his voice against pay-to-win games or loot boxes.