Loot boxes and blind packs have long been a topic of discussion in games, especially regarding their effects on children. One of the top executives at Electronic Arts has stated that children are never given money for FIFA Ultimate Team game mode. Chris Bruzzo, EA’s Chief Experience Officer, defended the game’s lootbox system during an interview with Eurogamer, describing the mechanics as a creative choice that mimics real-world sports. While Bruzzo highlighted some of the work EA is doing to curb gambling addiction, he was also reluctant to label the Lootbox system as pure gambling.
Bruzzo has a wide variety of roles in the FIFA Franchise for over seven years, from marketing to business. He emphasizes that over 100 million people played last year FIFA “In some form” and that the game’s Ultimate Team mode is the most popular.
However, the game mode has caused some controversy in the past due to its inherent pay-to-win nature, so an EA employee was investigated for allegedly selling Ultimate Team cards for more than € 1,000. There’s even a pretty significant black market for the game, as evidenced by a Ukrainian police raid in July that discovered thousands of PS4s that are growing FUT coins.FIFA‘s earned in-game currency.
Asked about the controversy FIFA‘s loot box system, Bruzzo first tried to explain how the negative comments had affected him and them FIFA Development team. With further pressure, Bruzzo compared the game’s lootbox system to real football:
Indeed, this whole gamification of what it means to have a different list of players from different backgrounds, with scarcity, with no way to snag Lionel and put him on PSG. In fact, we’ve developed these things over a long period of time to actually reflect what it feels like, the tough strategic decisions you have to make when putting together a roster that works as uniquely as the roster you manage want to play with.
In addition, Bruzzo noted on several occasions that “nine out of ten FUT packs of coins are opened”. Bruzzo adds that being able to purchase loot boxes that have a chance of holding valuable players was “Player Choice”. When pointing out how loot boxing can lead to gambling addiction, Bruzzo also mentioned that there is “no consensus at this point” – and conveniently ignored the fact that several reputable organizations have “robustly verified” a link between loot boxing and gambling. Oddly enough, Bruzzo then explained that EA is “taking action” by raising awareness and engaging in solutions, apparently admitting that there is indeed at least some gambling problem FIFA.
Lootbox systems put children at a particularly high risk of becoming gamers. In response, Bruzzo stated that “Children shouldn’t spend in money” FIFA Period. “He made it clear that accounts under the age of 18 cannot spend money by default. Bruzzo also apologized for a FIFA Advertisement that appeared in a toy catalog earlier this year saying it was a “mistake” by his team.[Source: Eurogamer]