It would appear that Electronic Arts didn’t learn from the last time it pulled this kind of nonsense, but apparently there was still fuel for the dumpster fire. The company is catching flak for an advertisement in a UK children’s toy catalogue that touted FIFA 21’s FUT lockbox scheme, explaining a four step process where the second step directly invited players to “use FIFA points to open packs.”
This same kind of advertisement is not unique behavior as one person noted on Twitter, where a similar sort of wall display for the previous year’s FIFA game had similar instructions. That said, the arrival of the ad in a children’s toy catalogue appears to be the biggest sticking point for angry Redditors, who are referring to the tactic as “scummy” and “repulsive” and directing people to submit responses to a UK loot box questionnaire or file a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority.
This episode once more rears the ugly specter of lockbox monetization ethics, which came to a head with EA’s infamous 2017 claim that its monetization provided “a sense of pride and accomplishment” and last year’s argument before a UK parliament committee that lockboxes are akin to Kinder Eggs. The entire fiasco brought lootbox monetization to the attention of governments all around the globe, causing the ESRB and PEGI to start including lockbox warning labels and the UK to try to tighten up legislation of the scheme.
As for this latest episode from EA, the company has thus far not responded to calls for comment.