After a recent update, it appears EA is preparing countermeasures pending litigation regarding popular game mode, FIFA Ultimate Team.
EA Potentially Restricting Access to FUT
As early as August of this year, we’ve covered ongoing legal battles and controversy regarding EA’s use of Loot Boxes. Back then, a lawsuit alleged EA “relies on creating addictive behaviors in consumers to generate huge revenues”. It also points out FIFA Ultimate Team packs “are predatory and designed to entice gamers to gamble.” Given how stubborn EA is on the issue, it’s hard to argue against.
Two months later, EA made headlines two more times. The first bit of controversy came from an ad found within a children’s toy magazine. As one might expect, this ad specifically drew attention to the use of FIFA Points. Players purchase these in-game points using real money. With them, players can buy FUT packs which provide random virtual players for their Ultimate Teams mode. EA commented saying the company would be reviewing future media placements. The company further admitted such advertisements were inappropriate for a toy section in a children’s magazine. No more than little over a week later, it came out that EA was fined $11.6m over FIFA Ultimate Team.
More regions are tightening their restrictions on what constitutes gambling. While EA is expected to challenge the $11.6m fine, a recent FIFA says they are preparing for the worst.
Holding onto FIFA Ultimate Team
Instead removing the mechanic completely as seen in Battlefront 2, EA has instead chosen a different route. Reportedly, a recent FIFA patch added a bit of code seemingly allowing EA to disable Ultimate Team altogether in some countries/regions.
— FUT Watch (@FutWatch) December 8, 2020
The Twitter account ‘FUT Watch’ revealed code for a pop-up message. As it shows in the tweet, when flagged the pop up reads “FIFA Ultimate Team is currently not accessible due to a demand from the authorities of your region.”
There has been no official word on the implementation of this feature. It would seem, for now, it is just a precaution. However, if EA must implement this for specific regions, it may set a precedent for other countries to follow. If that comes to pass, how long before EA opts to disable access to Ultimate Team altogether?
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