FIFA 20 Publisher EA Hit With Lawsuit Over Ultimate Team Being 'Classed As Gambling'
A lawsuit in France has been launched against Electronic Arts arguing that the fan-favourite FIFA Ultimate Team should be classified as gambling.
Ultimate Team allows players to use real money on packs in the hopes of unlocking rare players to build their dream XIs.
According to French newspaper L'Equipe, Parisian lawyers Karim Morand-Lahouazi and Victor Zagury are taking on the FIFA 20 publisher over the potential risks posed with Ultimate Team.
The two lawyers have argued that it is essentially a play-to-win mode, which requires players to gamble their money on packs and not guaranteeing returns on a particular card.
"In this game, everyone wants to have a dream team to go as far as possible," Zagury said.
"My client spent €600 in five months without ever getting a big player. The developers of this game mode have created an illusionary and particularly addictive system.
"The more you pay, the more you have the possibility of getting big players.
"We believe that a gambling game has been integrated into this video game because buying packs is nothing more than a bet. It is the logic of a casino that has entered their homes.
"Today, an 11- or 12-year-old teenager can, without any restriction, play FUT and commit money because there is no parental control system in this mode.
"Belgium and the Netherlands have already taken up this issue."
The French newspaper reports that the two lawyers are hoping to receive insight into "the algorithm which generates the distribution of player cards in packs."
Mamadou, who is a 32-year-old chauffeur, told L'Equipe that he splashed out €600 on FUT packs since the release of FIFA 20 last September.
And he revealed that the best card he pulled from any pack was Napoli defender Kostas Manolas, who is rated 85 in Ultimate Team.
"You quickly become addicted to this game... whenever I buy a pack, I tell myself that this is the last time, but I always do it again," Mamadou said.
"You get so frustrated when you don't get good enough players that you buy again and again.
"I didn't even know him! Put so much money in just to get Manolas... People I know have put in €2,000 or €3,000 -- it's crazy...
"The amount I have spent has made me fall behind on my rent payments."
Belgium clamped down on loot boxes in 2018 and EA stopped selling FIFA points, its in-game currently for the franchise, last year.
The Netherlands took similar action on gambling in video games and imposed a ban on some loot boxes.
NHS mental health director Claire Murdoch last month called on the gaming industry to ban loot boxes in games and protect children from becoming addicted to gambling.
"Frankly, no company should be setting up kids for addiction by teaching them to gamble on the content of these loot boxes," she said.
"No firm should sell to children loot box games with this element of chance, so yes those sales should end.
"Young people's health is at stake, and although the NHS is stepping up with these new innovative services available to families through our Long Term Plan, we cannot do this alone, so other parts of society must do what they can to limit risks and safeguard children's wellbeing."
Featured Image Credit: PA/EA Sports