The groups are calling on US regulators to investigate EA FIFA: Ultimate Team for exploiting the ‘Loot Box’ bug.


Consumer advocates on Thursday called on US regulators to investigate video game maker Electronic Arts Inc for its deceptive use of a digital “loot box” that “aggressively” encourages players to spend more money while playing the popular soccer game.

Fairplay groups, the Center for Digital Democracy and 13 other organizations have called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate EA’s FIFA: Ultimate Team game.

In the game, players create a football team using avatars of real players and compete against other teams. In a letter to the FTC, the groups said the game typically costs between $50 and $100, but the company encourages players to spend more while playing.

“This will encourage players to purchase packages that specifically seek out players,” the groups said in a letter filed with the Consumer Federation of America and the Massachusetts Gaming and Health Council, among others.

Packs or loot boxes are bundles of digital content that can sometimes be purchased for real money that give the buyer a potential advantage in the game. They can be bought with digital currency, which can hide the amount spent, they said.

“Unless a player spends thousands of dollars in points or spends thousands of hours playing to earn coins, the chances of unlocking a coveted card like Player of the Year are slim,” they wrote. groups announced in the letter.

The letter also has loot boxes tied to the game.

“In some cases, youth with problem gambling behaviors seek out games with loot boxes; for others, loot boxes are a gateway to problem gambling,” they wrote. .

The FTC, which goes after companies that engage in deceptive behavior, held a 2019 workshop on loot boxes. Then, in an “employee perspective,” the agency noted that video game microtransactions have become a multibillion-dollar market.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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