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Children should not be investing real-world money into EA Sports’ FIFA franchise “full stop” and “nine out of 10 FUT packs” are opened using coins.
That is according to EA chief experience officer Chris Bruzzo, who has staunchly defended the FIFA franchise for its use of loot boxes in Ultimate Team.
Ultimate Team, which debuted in FIFA 09 in 2008, has become a staple feature in the franchise and allows players to build their ‘dream’ XIs with footballers from different leagues around the world.
Players can either use coins, which are earned from matches or cards sold on the market, to purchase Ultimate Team packs or convert real money into FIFA Points currency.
Ultimate Team has been hotly debated over its potential ‘pay-to-win’ model, along with EA Sports facing lawsuits in the past over the use of loot boxes.
European countries like the Netherlands and Belgium have clamped down loot boxes by classifying them as gambling and banning them from usage.
The House of Lords Gambling Committee has even raised concerns over loot boxes and microtransactions and suggested that they should be regulated under gambling laws in the UK.
Speaking to Eurogamer in an extensive interview, Bruzzo was challenged over the issue of gambling problems with young people and how the loot box design in FIFA could affect them.
“Kids should not be spending in our game. Children should not be spending in FIFA,” he said.
Bruzzo added: “Actually, when we look at account signups Wes, we see very low percentage of accounts of people under the age of 18.
“But more importantly, our default is set to no spending for accounts under 18. And we work with Sony and we work with Microsoft to also institute spending controls as a default for children. Kids should not be spending in FIFA full stop.”
Eurogamer’s Wesley Yin-Poole proceeded to point out that FIFA Points have previously been advertised in children’s magazines, with Bruzzo claiming that it was an “oversight.”
The EA chief experience officer explained: “Let me say again, we're human. That was my team. That was my team that did that. It was an oversight.
“It was literally somebody checking boxes of places to put FIFA ads, and then a process by which we normally review where those ads are going to go, and we missed that step.
“And so this was a day when ads like that were going out into hundreds of channels, and somebody thought that that would be a good box to check. And so they included FIFA Ultimate Team in this toy catalogue.
“And we have apologised. We said it was a mistake. We do make mistakes, Wes.”
Bruzzo also claimed that the majority of packs opened on FIFA Ultimate Team are through coins and not real-world money.
“Let me be very, very clear about this point: nine out of 10 FUT packs that are opened in FIFA are opened with coins,” he said.
“Coins are earned by playing the game. That's not real-world money.”
Former EA Sports chief Peter Moore broke his silence over FUT’s loot boxes by claiming that it is a “long way” from gambling.
EA Sports released its latest entry in the franchise, FIFA 22, on 1st October for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Google Stadia.
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