Electronic Arts (EA) has released the latest instalment of their popular game, FIFA 19. Following the debut, the game has reached the top of the charts. While this is nothing new for the gaming firm, they added something to the game. For the first time, EA has released the odds of gaining prizes through loot boxes in the game.
According to reports, the decision to include the odds came after Belgian authorities started considering criminal charges against EA. This was after the Belgian gambling regulator determined that EA’s Battlefront II loot boxes, in-game rewards and extras, broke Belgian gambling laws. Other jurisdictions have also considered the matter. Concerns over EA’s game rewards surfaced earlier in 2018, after online gamers discovered the cost of these rewards.
Loot boxes (sometimes called crates) are a standard part of video games in 2018. However, EA took the idea too far. Reports from pre-release reviews revealed that earning the rewards through the game would take almost a year.
Loot Boxes in FIFA 19
To add insult to injury, loot boxes can be purchased with real money. This means that some players can gain an advantage through buying the boxes. In FIFA 19, loot boxes are known as ‘FIFA Ultimate Team packs’ or FUT packs. These FUT rewards will randomly give gamers a famous player for their team. What’s more, there are further ‘special’ soccer players who will improve over time called ‘Ones to Watch’.
‘Ones to Watch’ are extremely rare, and EA has revealed just how rare they are. They state that the chance of getting such a player is ‘less than one percent’. Of course, this requires a special purchase by gamers using FIFA 19 points, earned in game. Aussies can only receive Ones to Watch from a ‘Premium Electrum Players Pack’. This pack costs 250 points, or US$2.49 (AU$3.50) in real money.
Odds on Microtransactions
Statistically, this means that players will need to spend US$249 (AU$350) to get just one in a team of 11. While points can be earned through playing and earning achievements, this takes an extremely long time. So, players will likely resort to microtransactions (real money) to get ahead of others.
When players pay real money for a chance at winning a reward, this is seen as gambling in Belgium and other countries. Added to this, the player base for FIFA 19 is mostly teenagers, which puts them at risk of developing gambling problems.