EA's FIFA series may be one of the best-selling video game franchises on the face of the planet, but it has come under fire in recent years for the loot box mechanics which underpin its popular Ultimate Team mode. In this mode, players assemble a dream team based on random 'packs' of cards which can be purchased using real money. The higher the chance of getting a rare player, the more expensive the pack.
In Europe, EA has already been accused of exploiting its young fans with a system which is essentially gambling, and now we're seeing two new cases emerge in France, both of which have been filed by players of the game who claim that the only way to "win" in the Ultimate Team mode is to pay real money – and lots of it.
One of the lawyers, Victor Zagury, references gambling in his statement, and mentions the action already taken on this matter in Belgium and Holland:
In this game, everyone wants to have a dream team to go as far as possible. 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.
Zagury's client, known as Mamadou, spoke with sports outlet L’Équipe, admitting that he had spent €600 since the game’s release, yet the best player he had received in Ultimate Team packs was Napoli’s Kostas Manolas:
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.
FIFA has seen three entries on the Switch so far, all of which contain the Ultimate Team mode.