EA Hit With FIFA 20 Lawsuit Claims Ultimate Team Mode Is Gambling
Two legal suits have been filed against the makers of the popular video game FIFA, arguing that the game mode FIFA Ultimate Team should be classified as a form of gambling, according to L’Équipe. Two Parisian lawyers, Karim Morand-Lahouazi and Victor Zagury, are taking on the gaming giant, in an effort to highlight the risks attached for players of FIFA Ultimate Team.
This game mode has been part of FIFA since their 2009 version, and in France alone makes EA hundreds of thousands of Euros a year. The legal duo are arguing that in order to win in this game mode, you have to pay and gamble, spending money on FIFA card packs that could include any player available in the game.
While EA Sports has many titles to its name, FIFA stands out for the corporation – both in popularity and in monetization. In recent years, many in the gaming community have complained that FIFA Ultimate Team mode (FUT) favors the rich. Those who are willing to spend the most cash often obtain the best players.
One of these lawyers, Victor Zagury, discussed the lengths players go to in order to obtain their dream team. In a talk with L’Equipe, he revealed that his client has spent €600 (about $663 USD) in five months without receiving a big player. He places the blame on EA for creating a game mode with such addictive tendencies and states that they integrated gambling into the title.
L’Equipe also spoke to FIFA gamer Mamadou, who said that his FIFA Ultimate Team addiction has caused him to fall behind on rent. Yet despite spending hundreds of Euros on the game, the best player he has received was Napoli’s defender, Manolas. He reiterated the claims that the game is addictive:
You quickly become addicted to this game… whenever I buy a pack, I tell myself that this is the last time, but I always do it again. You get so frustrated when you don’t get good enough players that you buy again and again
The two lawyers have argued that it is essentially a play-to-win mode, which requires players to gamble their money on packs and not guaranteeing returns on a particular card.
“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
The Netherlands took similar action on gambling in video games and imposed a ban on some loot boxes.
NHS mental health director Claire Murdoch last month called on the gaming industry to ban loot boxes in games and protect children from becoming addicted to gambling.
“Frankly, no company should be setting up kids for addiction by teaching them to gamble on the content of these loot boxes,”
No firm should sell to children loot box games with this element of chance, so yes those sales should end.
“Young people’s health is at stake, and although the NHS is stepping up with these new innovative services available to families through our Long Term Plan, we cannot do this alone, so other parts of society must do what they can to limit risks and safeguard children’s wellbeing.“
The two lawyers hope to use these lawsuits to not only have the mode treated as gambling, but also to gain knowledge about the algorithm behind the distribution of player packs. We’ll have to wait and see if their efforts prove successful.
The lawsuit also comes in the wake of Belgian legislators ruling that FIFA was indeed gambling in 2018. EA removed the ability to purchase FIFA points in the FUT making packs only available through coins earned in-game. So far only Belgium and the Netherlands have taken action against loot boxes in video games.