FIFA Loot Boxes Teen Blows £3000 Of His Parents Savings On Packs
FIFA and the thorny issue of loot boxes have once again hit the mainstream headlines after a UK teen revealed he had blown £3000 on Ultimate Team packs. How one teenager spent nearly £3,000 on his ‘addiction’ to video game loot boxes. Close share panelLike many young teenagers, Jonathan Peniket enjoyed buying random player”packs” to build up his team on the Fifa football video game.But when his mum was diagnosed with cancer, his spending on these packs, or”loot boxes”, became as he sees it an addiction he couldn’t control.
But when his mum was diagnosed with cancer, his spending on these packs, or loot boxes, became as he sees it an addiction he couldn’t control.
“I have loved video games since I was a child. I remember waking up early on weekends and heading straight downstairs to play Fifa 05 with the sound off so that I wouldn’t wake my parents,”
“Now 21, I am fortunate to have made some of my closest friends online, and I think video games can be great for any child.
“I stress this before saying that I feel compelled to tell my story of how ‘loot box gambling’ led to one of the worst experiences of my life.
“In 2009, EA Sports launched the Ultimate Team game mode in their Fifa series. It’s like a huge online football trading card game, and users can then add these players to their teams.
“Better players give you an advantage, and there is a virtual currency and market where these cards are traded. You can buy packs containing a random selection of cards.
“I distinctly remember back in 2012, when I first asked my parents if I could use my money to buy packs, and my frustration when my dad said the packs were “gambling”, before finally agreeing.
“The idea that it was gambling seemed ridiculous to me at the time. I understood that the chances of ‘packing’ my favourite players were low.
“I spent the money, opened my packs, got lucky a couple of times, and tried to be positive, despite being left feeling slightly underwhelmed. ‘If I could just spend another £15…’, I thought.
“Four years followed of spending more and more money on player packs – each time seeking that buzz that would only occasionally come.
“As time went on, I was becoming increasingly secretive about it. I would buy a voucher from a High Street shop and hide it in my room, so my parents wouldn’t find out how much I was spending.
“At the time, I had nothing else I would rather spend my money on. I thought each time that this time would be one where I got lucky.
“When I was 17, I got my first debit card, and suddenly the decision to spend money on the game became instant, just a click of a button away, with no need to buy the vouchers and worry that my parents would find them.
“2017 was the year that changed everything in my life. I was completing my last year of A-levels, with vague plans to go to university. In September my mum was diagnosed with cancer.
“Everything became about waiting until it would all just be a memory. Waiting until the day that my mum’s treatment would be over, when I’d have finished my exams and we could all appreciate normal life again.
“I searched for any way to cope. The buzz of opening packs offered me an escape.
The makers of Fifa, EA Sports, deny any aspect of Fifa constitutes gambling and agree with the assessment made by the Gambling Commission that loot boxes are not gambling.
They say Fifa Ultimate Team can be played without spending any money and that purchases are entirely optional.
They go on to say the well-being of players is paramount – and all their games, including Fifa, have the ability to use parental controls provided by gaming platforms to cap or prohibit spend.
EA has declined to comment, but it has said in the past it does not believe loot boxes to be gambling, instead referring to them as “surprise mechanics“.
The House of Lords Gambling Committee is calling for loot boxes, which are not currently considered to be gambling, to be regulated urgently.
At a government level FIFA’s loot boxes – and loot boxes in other games – are under increasing scrutiny over their link to gambling and potential effect on children. In early July, the House of Lords published a report recommending the UK Government reclassify loot boxes as gambling, arguing loot boxes should be considered “games of chance”, which means they would fall under the Gambling Act of 2005 and be regulated by the Gambling Commission.