Yesterday, a leaked marketing document from EA provided an insight into the company’s approach to its FIFA Ultimate Team mode. Well known as a huge income generator for EA as a whole, across its various sports titles.
CBC, and an ‘industry insider’ who leaked the document attacked EA for driving players towards the mode, which is among the most popular loot box implementations on the market.
Honestly we didn’t see what the fuss was about really. It’s always been perfectly clear that EA was keen to encourage players to play what has become one if its most popular, most engaging and most profitable formats within its games.
Now EA has hit back, with comments via Gameindustry.biz, saying just that.
FIFA’s VP of brand David Jackson hit back clearly: “Nothing in that document contradicts our position, which is that engagement is our No.1 success metric. We want players to play. Nothing in there contradicts that. Nothing in that document concerns us. I think it has been taken out of context, and I think some of the reporting hasn’t been as balanced as it should or could be. It’s the reason why we wanted to have this discussion.”
And clarified: “Realistically, Ultimate Team is the most engaged mode that we have. It is also the mode that is updated most regularly with the latest and greatest content… Engagement is the No.1 success metric that we have as a company. If we want players to play, that is the place where we want them to experience and receive the ability to engage with the latest content.”
He goes onto point out that the document was in relation to a summer promotion, and that with little football being played in the summer, the focus was understandably on transfers and that makes explains the strong relation to Ultimate Team in this case.
And he goes on to defend the mode more generally and talk against the tone of the reporting around it: “It’s important that we offer the opportunity for people to understand our perspective… Ultimate Team is one of the most popular game modes in the world, it’s got millions and millions of fans engaging with it every single year. And I think the narrative on it at the moment is challenging, through sensationalist reporting a little like this. But the opportunity to discuss with people like yourself offers a balance point-of-view.”
In the UK loot boxes continue to be the subject of political debate as part of the review of the 2005 gambling act, and it very much remains to be seen if the industry here will be put under pressure or legislation even to control such mechanics.
We believe that whatever decisions are made the industry should be allowed to self-regulate to support those, rather than work under restrictive and inflexible legislation that will likely be out of date before it’s even on the statute book.