Could a Leaked EA Document Result in Major Changes to FIFA Ultimate Team?
Loot boxes have been at the center of attention of gambling regulators across the globe. Nothing surprising – they are a highly lucrative business, one which Electronic Arts apparently want more of! Well, at least that’s what the recent EA leaked document suggests. Let’s talk about that!
The Leaked EA Document | A Closer Look
First things first, here’s a look at the document in question. It’s just two slides taken out of EA’s internal presentation. Still, that doesn’t make them any less problematic. For starters, EA leaked document clearly emphasizes the company’s focus on generating more profit through FIFA’s most popular game mode, the Ultimate Team. Let’s look at a couple of key guidelines that emphasize the issue:
- “Players will be actively messaged + incentivized to convert throughout the summer.”
- “FUT is the cornerstone and we are doing everything we can to drive players there.”
- “The return of football is only going to help us and plans are ready to flex.”
- “Content teasers + targeted Aruba messaging will drive excitement & funnel players towards FUT from other modes.”
None of this comes as any surprise for your average FIFA gamer, myself included. We’re used to EA making moves that would put smaller studios into the ground… yet they keep getting away with it thanks to their sheer size and importance for both the esports and gaming industry.
FIFA Ultimate Team Notorious for its Pack-Opening Scene
What makes EA’s attempt at driving even more players towards FUT that problematic? Well, it has everything to do with FUT’s pack-opening scene. Yep, such a thing exists! It’s mostly YouTubers and Twitch streamers spending tons of money on packs. You wouldn’t believe how popular these videos and streams are. Just type in “FIFA pack opening” in either Google or YouTube and you’ll be amazed.
Loot Boxes Frowned Upon Across the Globe
Obviously, a company that wants to increase its profits is nothing new. But, one could argue EA’s leaked guidelines for purposefully driving players towards microtransactions are not just immoral but illegal too.
Many spears are being broken over whether or not loot boxes and similar “surprise mechanics” are actually a form of gambling in disguise. An increasing number of gambling regulators and governments are trying to put a stop to loot boxes in video games. The reason is quite simple – they facilitate underage gambling which could spiral out of control and become one of the burning issues in the foreseeable future.
Belgium took the matter into their own hands back in 2018 when they labeled loot boxes illegal. That’s just the tip of the iceberg – last year the NGA (Netherlands Gambling Authority) slapped EA $5.85 million fine because of FIFA Ultimate Team microtransactions.
China continues to restrict rules surrounding loot boxes. At first, the CCP required loot box operators to clearly display all possible rewards and the probability of receiving them. Now, the government has installed new regulations and placed further restrictions on the old, including a cap on the maximum number of loot boxes one can purchase in a day. It’s not much, but it’s honest work!
But, countries that have taken action against loot boxes’ “surprise mechanics” are still in minority. Needless to say, this could have huge implications later on, especially considering recent research studies.
Could The EA Document Leak Change Anything?
But, could EA leaked document be the straw that breaks the camel’s back? Well, unfortunately, I don’t think it will have any effect on EA’s future plans with their golden egg, Ultimate Team. Why do I think so?
A Big Fat No
Well, no matter what EA does, the fans will still play the game! They will still buy packs, they will still buy and sell players, they will keep doing what they’ve been doing all along. Why? Well, FUT is just too popular!
FIFA Ultimate Team is by far the most popular game mode in the history of FIFA games. Heck, in the history of sports simulations too! It’s the very base of FIFA’s esports scene too. As such, it will take more than a simple leak, no matter how bad it might seem, to change the direction EA is currently pushing towards.
Perhaps Ultimate Team pack-opening mechanics do have a gambling connotation to them. As explained earlier, numerous governments and their gambling regulators are aggressively pushing against loot boxes in video games for that very reason.
The facilitation of underage gambling is not to be taken for granted, but from the looks of things, EA doesn’t really care about that. They only care about driving their fanbase towards the microtransactions-packed mode that is the Ultimate Team… and I’m afraid we won’t see any changes as long as the players keep buying what EA is selling.
My Thoughts on the Matter
There’s not much left to be said, really. I think I’ve made several points throughout the piece that perfectly reflect my opinion on the matter. But, I guess we can’t leave this section empty…
For starters, I’m not a big fan of EA. I’m a big fan of FIFA… but EA, not so much! This document leak is just one of many reasons why I believe they’re one of the worst gaming behemoths out there.
Do you know what hurts me, as a casual FIFA gamer, the most? It’s the fact that EA will get absolutely no repercussions for this. Nothing is going to change; we’ll just keep on playing the game like nothing even happened. Gamers are a weird kind, that’s for sure!
But then again, what else are we going to do, switch to PES? Come on, now…let’s not be silly!