UPDATE: EA responds, promises immediate review.
UPDATE 30th September 2020: EA has pulled a controversial FIFA microtransactions advert that encouraged children to spend real world money on Ultimate Team loot boxes.
In a statement to Eurogamer, EA said it had undertaken an immediate review of all future media placements, and admitted the FIFA Points advert shouldn’t have appeared in the toy magazine in the first place.
“We take very seriously the responsibilities we have when marketing EA games and experiences in channels seen by children,” EA said.
“In spite of this, we’re aware that advertising for FIFA Points has appeared in environments it shouldn’t have. We have been working diligently with Smyths to ensure this advertisement is not distributed in any remaining copies of their 2020 catalogue. We have also undertaken an immediate review of all future media placements and are working to ensure each of our marketing efforts better reflects the responsibility we take for the experience of our younger players.”
ORIGINAL STORY 27th September 2020: Pressure is mounting against Electronic Arts following the discovery of advertisements promoting FIFA microtransactions in a toy magazine in the UK.
As Wes summarised earlier this week, FUT is FIFA’s most popular game mode and publisher EA’s money spinner, pulling in billions in revenue through the sale of FIFA Points. FIFA Points are used to buy FUT packs, which contain a random assortment of virtual players. It’s this mechanic that makes FUT a pay-to-win competitive online experience – and has sparked a comparison to gambling.
Consequently, the inclusion of the ad in toy shop Smyths’ magazine that promotes FIFA points to children has caused consternation amongst fans, with some calling on a boycott of the series until EA addresses the issue (thanks, VGC).
“I find this extremely wrong as not only is it in a kid’s magazine, but they are actually saying that you should go about the game by buying points and opening packs,” wrote one detractor on Reddit, amongst calls to refer the ads to the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency. “Normalising in-game purchases for kids since an early age is so f-cking unethical.”
“I feel for the parents in this situation as that’s below the belt from EA, but I’m not surprised,” added another.
As we reported yesterday, a FIFA pro recently announced he won’t buy any FIFA Points during the FIFA 21 season. Tim “Tim Latka” Schwartmann – who currently plays for German club FC Schalke 04’s esports team – said he had decided to compete on the professional FIFA circuit this season without spending a penny on FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT).