The Canadian Broadcast Corporation has received a 54-page document leaked by an Electronic Arts insider, the document reveals how EA Games is pushing FIFA players towards the FIFA Ultimate Team, a game mode designed with loot boxes.
On a page of the leaked document titled “Five Things You Need to Know,” the third point indicates that FIFA players will be “incentivized to convert” throughout the summer, while the fourth point affirms that “FUT is the cornerstone and we are doing everything we can to drive players there.”
Perhaps taken out of context, on another section of the leaked document, Electronic Arts affirms that their strategy of “Turning Up the Heat,” means that “All roads lead to FUT” and sets a strategy to “drive excitement and funnel players towards FUT from other modes.”
Certainly, Electronic Arts’ best interest is to keep FIFA Ultimate Team profitable, the game mode sold $1.5 billion worth of loot-boxes in 2020, for 27% of all Electronic Arts revenues. The problem for the publisher is that several governments have found a link between loot boxes and gambling, something that is unacceptable for a game that is aimed at teens.
The “gaming insider” affirms that he took the document to The Canadian Broadcast Corporation to help the media to research EA’s video game design and the link of loot boxes to gambling. The leaked document could also accelerate the ESRB and PEGI for a better understanding of how loot boxes are designed in hopes of regulating the mechanic.
“For years … they’ve been able to act with a layer of plausible deniability,” the insider told the CBC. “Yet in their internal documents, they’re saying, ‘This is our goal. We want people driven to the card pack mode.'” He added, “I don’t know why anyone would ever put that in print at the company. It’s getting harder and harder to defend what is very obviously unregulated gambling.”
In its defense, Electronic Arts have released a statement claiming that the presentation has been taken out of context and the media has “sensationalized” the story.
We always look for opportunities to introduce more players to modes in our games. Our FIFA players are expecting fresh content that makes the service exciting, so that’s a constant focus for us. We do not ‘push’ people to spend in our games. Where we provide that choice, we are very careful not to promote spending over earning in the game, and the majority of FIFA players never spend money on in-game items.