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Multiple Child Advocacy Groups Have Requested The FTC To Investigate EA’s Loot Boxes

A few days ago, we wrote about a report put together by The Norwegian Consumer Council which shed light on the exploitative nature of loot boxes in video games. Now, that report is being cited by a number of child advocacy organizations that are urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the loot boxes in EA's video games.

As reported by Axios, 15 child advocacy groups, led by Fairplay and The Center for Digital Democracy, have written an open letter to the FTC, asking the commission to launch an investigation into EA's loot boxes – especially those in FIFA – and publish its verdict.

"EA has made the pursuit of FIFA packs endless: It releases a new version of FIFA annually, and when a player moves from FIFA 22: Ultimate Team on to the next iteration of the game, their pack rewards from prior versions do not advance with them,'' says the six-page letter. "Instead, the entire process begins anew. The combination of constant updates to each game version, annual new versions, and the incentive to compete forces FUT game players into an endless pay-to-win cycle. These practices raise issues that concerned organizations and professionals have highlighted in the past, and issues the Commission has studied."

It goes on to list a number of questions that the FTC should particularly seek answers to in its investigation. These include questions about the exact age demographics of children currently playing FIFA games and how EA verifies a player's age, what the term "dynamically generated" is defined as when it comes to FUT packs, and if EA offers streamers and celebs better chances of getting a high value pack.

The report by The Norwegian Consumer Council stated that loot boxes “exploit cognitive or behavioural biases to incentivise spending”. Its findings were backed by 20 consumer groups in 18 different countries.

It uses games like FIFA 22 and Raid: Shadow Legends as case studies in order to publish its findings. One of the leading points that the report makes is that loot boxes feature a "deceptive design" created specifically to entice players into spending money while not being clear about the odds of landing a desirable object.

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