By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
US Consumer Groups have urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate video games maker, Electronic Arts (EA), regarding the use of a digital ‘loot box’ in their popular ‘FIFA: Ultimate Team’ video game.
They claim that this ‘loot box’ “aggressively” urges players to spend more money whilst playing this game.
In the game, players build a soccer team using avatars of real players and compete against other players.
The game usually costs between US$50 and US$100, but players are enticed to spend more on special players whilst they play.
The ‘loot boxes’ are packages of digital content, which can be purchased with digital currency, which can obscure how much players spend.
The Complainant Groups allege that:
“The chances of opening a coveted card, such as a Player of the Year, are miniscule unless a gamer spends thousands of dollars on points or plays for thousands of hours to earn coins.”
They also allege that the ‘loot boxes’ are linked to gambling and state that:
“In some cases, young people who have already developed problem gambling behaviors seek out games with loot boxes; for others, loot boxes are a gateway to problem gambling.”
These allegations are serious, and it will be interesting to see what happens to the FTC complaint!
Once again, gambling and sport rears its ugly head!