Electronic Arts has once again got into a scandal related to loot boxes. The network published an internal document of the company, which directly says that the developers are doing everything possible to force gamers to use the FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) mode. That’s just EA itself calls it all a “sensational story with a distortion of facts.”

Insider about the situation inside the company

The 54-page presentation, which tells about the current state of FIFA 21 and its further development, was received from an anonymous CBC insider.

The portal shared two pages of the document.

The first one is called “Five Things You Need to Know.” There, EA noted that there are now more active users in FIFA than ever. More than 5.3 million people play franchise games every day, and the DAU of the Ultimate Team mode exceeds 3 million gamers. At the same time, the company added that it is now fully focused on attracting even more users to this mode by mid-September.

“FUT is the cornerstone of FIFA, and we are doing everything possible to send players to it,” EA writes in the document.

The second published page of the presentation lists the methods by which EA plans to attract players to FUT. Among them there are, for example, content teasers. All this is indicated under the motto “all roads lead to FUT”.

One of the pages of the merged presentation
Let’s explain what FUT is.

This mode allows players to create their own team of football players. To get football players’ cards, users need to buy loot boxes — decks with cards for in-game or real money. That’s just getting some cards can be problematic, because they fall out randomly. Especially rare ones have a chance of falling less than 1%.

This mechanics has been repeatedly criticized by the authorities of a number of countries, comparing it with gambling. Now EA is involved in several lawsuits at once, where the legality of monetization in FUT mode is being discussed.

According to an anonymous insider, it was the unhealthy environment around loot boxes and EA that was the reason why he decided to share the presentation with CBC. The insider noted that some developers also don’t like loot boxes in games. But they can’t do anything about it, because “the company is trying to make money and satisfy investors.”

In addition to the presentation about the successes and plans for FIFA 21, the insider showed CBC another document. In it, EA called the currency that FIFA users earn the “grind currency”.

“Grind in games is a slang word meaning the endless performance of the same monotonous task,” the insider explained. “It looks like EA is specifically making games boring to encourage people of all ages to spend money on card sets.”

Electronic Arts Reaction

In a comment for Eurogamer, the company indirectly confirmed the authenticity of the merged documents. But at the same time, she accused the CBC article of sensationalism and distortion of facts.

We have chosen the main thing from EA’s statement:

  • the company claims that it is always looking for ways to introduce gamers to all the modes in its games. In addition, users expect fresh content from her, so she constantly pays attention to this;
  • the publisher also insists that it does not force users to spend money. And in those places where the player has a choice — to spend or not to spend, EA tries to be very careful not to encourage excessive spending. Moreover, according to EA estimates, the lion’s share of its gamers have never bought anything in FIFA;
  • EA assures that it takes full responsibility to ensure that gamers have a fun and safe game. She recalled the parental control function, which allows parents to control how their children play. And she also mentioned the FIFA Playtime tool, with which gamers can set limits on the game and purchases.;
  • in the end, the company again refuted the statements about the gambling component in the loot boxes and expressed the hope that the courts would agree with it.

The EA representative refuted the statement about the “grind currency” in a comment for the CBC. He pointed out that usually the company does not use this term. Nevertheless, he did not comment on anything about whether the in-game currency in FIFA is really needed only for grinding.