But he does understand why they receive so much scrutiny.
Former Electronic Arts executive Peter Moore has said that FIFA’s Ultimate Team is “a long way” from gambling.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, the EA alum said that the loot boxes in this mode of the company’s popular Ultimate Team mode are more akin to football stickers than anything else. Moore does see why the business model has attracted a lot of criticism and scrutiny in recent years.
“You’re always getting something,” he says. “It’s not like you opened it and there’s no players in there.
“This is a personal view, but the concept of surprise and delight vs gambling… on a continuum, they’re a long way from each other. You buy or grind your way up to getting a gold pack, you open it up, and you’re either happy or you think it’s a crappy pack. I don’t see that as gambling, per se — but again, this is my personal view as an outsider right now.
“I get the scrutiny, I understand outside of sports that loot boxes — again, another EA title in particular — get a lot of scrutiny and criticism. EA pulled back on that. One thing they’re always good at is getting feedback and realising ‘You know what, probably shouldn’t have done that’ or ‘That was the wrong decision, it wasn’t gamer-first,’ and then pulling back and making a different decision.”
Since 2017, loot boxes as a business model have come under fire following the rather aggressive implementation of them in EA’s own Star Wars: Battlefront 2. Governments around the world have been looking into whether loot boxes constitute gambling.
More recently, EA has been fined €10 million in the Netherlands over FIFA loot boxes – something that it says it will appeal – and is facing a number of lawsuits filed against EA over its use of loot boxes across its games. The company has described one such lawsuit brought against it in California as “baseless.”