Electronic Arts is introducing a new tool or FIFA Play that allows players to set limits on how much they can spend on microtransactions in the company’s flagship FIFA franchise. The tool reminds of the responsible gambling solutions used in online casinos.
EA to Roll-out New Tools to Control Spending in FIFA 21
Facing criticism over some of the mechanics used in its most popular sports simulator, Electronic Arts is looking to introduce game-time and spending moderation tools for its flagship title, FIFA 21. The company has come under criticism that it has created products that are reminiscent of gambling, particularly with the roll out of its Ultimate Team mode.
Moving forward, however, EA is adding a new tool known as FIFA Play that will enable players to control how much they end up spending on FUT card packs. EA is far from the only company to use microtransactions to sustain its games, but it has been one of the most heavily criticized game developers/publishers to do so nevertheless.
The company is facing a somewhat frivolous lawsuit in Canada over 12 years of loot box money and it was recently attacked for advertising microtransactions in a toy catalogue in the United Kingdom. EA previously had to withdraw loot boxes from markets such as Belgium and the Netherlands, because the two countries deemed them to be a form of gambling.
The United Kingdom has been fairly neutral about loot boxes so far, although earlier in July, 2020, a UK House of Lords Committee urged for loot boxes to be reclassified as a form of gambling.
Before that in June, loot boxes attracted scrutiny from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), but on both occasions, the UK Gambling Commissioned (UKGC) cautioned that these types of digital assets weren’t necessarily a form of gambling.
Protecting Consumers and Young Children
The tool EA is introducing for FIFA 21 reminds of the same measures and monitoring programs used in online casinos to track spending habits and behavior.
Now, with the latest update which will feature FIFA Playtime, EA will allow players to limit every aspect of their gaming experience, including how much they can spend on buying FIFA Points or even the number of FUT Packs they can open.
The tool will keep a historic record of how much users have spent on microtransactions in Ultimate Team. The measure is a good step in the right direction, but with patchy legislation, EA is hardly to blame for the use of microtransactions.
Many popular franchises, including Fortnite, Dota 2, Apex Legends, and League of Legends are using the same revenue model. In fact, card games such as Magic: The Gathering and Hearthstone rely exclusively on players purchasing new cards to stay even remotely competitive.
Yet, EA remains a lightning rod for criticism when it comes to the use of loot boxes in FIFA and other popular games backed by the company.