Electronic Arts, Inc.: FIFA Packs Investigation

Electronic Arts, Inc.: FIFA Packs Investigation

Lowey Dannenberg P.C., a preeminent law firm in obtaining redress for consumers, is investigating claims for potential violations of the common law and state consumer protection statutes by Electronic Arts, Inc. (“EA”) in connection with their use of “FIFA packs” in the game FIFA: Ultimate Team (“FUT”), one of the most popular sports video games of all time.

Electronic Arts has designed FUT in such a way that FUT players acquire soccer players and build their teams by buying “FIFA packs,” or loot boxes, which can be purchased with two types of virtual currencies, FIFA points and coins. Points can be purchased with real money, and coins can be earned by playing matches.

Our investigation concerns whether EA engages in several manipulative design techniques to exploit game players into buying FIFA packs. Purchasing card packs, for the purpose of finding a good player, confers a significant competitive advantage in competition against friends in gameplay. However, the chances of opening a coveted card, such as “Player of the Year,” are miniscule unless a gamer spends thousands of dollars on points or plays for thousands of hours to earn coins.

Ultimately, EA has made the pursuit of FIFA packs endless as the pack contents are “dynamically generated” and rare rewards appear more attainable than they are. Even worse, EA releases a new version of FIFA each year and a game player’s pack rewards from prior versions do not advance with them. As a result of EA’s deceptive tactics, consumers have unnecessarily spent thousands of dollars to unlock deceptively created game features.

EA’s FIFA pack design has also perpetuated addictive tendencies in children and teens, a major subset of FIFA players. Studies conducted by the Norwegian Consumer Council have shown that forcing players to purchase items though an in-game currency abstracts the price of the packs and adds a transactional layer to gameplay. The purchase of a loot box has been equated to gambling because when players purchase a loot box, they do not know what is inside, and the items vary in rarity, value, or both. The manipulative design of the packs particularly exploits kids and teen’s developmental vulnerabilities including their fear of missing out, esteem needs and sense of social pressure. Nonetheless, the purchase of FIFA packs is addictive by design and particularly subjects consumers to unhealthy mental states and pressure to enhance gameplay.

If you have purchased FIFA packs within FIFA: Ultimate Team and would like to inquire about joining an action to recover any losses you may have suffered as a result, please contact us at investigations@lowey.com or call us at 914-733-7272.