EA insists it’s focused on ‘engagement,’ not monetizing FIFA players into gambleboxes

OK, so we're doing this

    
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Yesterday, Canadian outlet CBC published a massive Electronic Arts document leaked by a supposed “gaming insider” that seemingly confirms what you already thought about EA: It really wants you to buy lootboxes. The 54-page memo was originally circulated internally within the Canadian division’s FIFA teams and declares, among other things, that lockboxes – are the “cornerstone” of playerbase engagement, that EA is doing “everything [it] can to drive players there.”

As the leaker clearly knew, this looks extremely bad for EA, which has been under fire in recent years for all things lockbox, from actual legal fines over its monetization to “surprise mechanics” to the “sense of pride and accomplishment” imbroglio.

EA declined CBC’s request for an interview and told the publication the document was being “viewed without context.” The company also denied that the term “grind currency” is typical used within the company, in spite of a second leaked document that clearly calls it just that. But apparently, EA’s attempt to stifle the situation backfired when it blew up across the industry yesterday, and FIFA’s VP of brand David Jackson decided to sit for an interview with GIbiz to defend the document after all. He claims the materials referred to the “Summer Heart” campaign last summer and the push to convert players from FIFA 20 to FIFA 2021.

“It’s not about monetisation, it’s about engagement for players,” he says. Jackson tried to turn this back on the press too: “I think the narrative on it at the moment is challenging, through sensationalist reporting a little like this,” he says. GIbiz, to its credit, seems wholly unimpressed with the arguments, as money is the reason marketers care about “engagement,” and no, coverage of lockbox shenanigans is not the problem with lockboxes. In other words, EA is busy doing EA things.

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Source: CBC, GIbiz. Cheers, Ken.
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MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

That’s why I try and avoid their products!

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elenie

While I despise EA and its transparent shenanigans, the snarky headline put a smile on my face. Perfect :D

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Utakata

“viewed without context”

…you mean, viewed without spin?

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Hostagecat

Again why do we think predatory practices like this are okay if its a corporation. But, if this was drug cartel intent on keeping its customers hooked…..well its time to wage a war on drugs.

You could argue the corporation that metaphor does not work the corporation is not trying to destroy lives. However we have seen lots of stories saying otherwise, where people spend all there income cause they are hooked and there lives are destroyed in the process.

Let me be straight i do not believe in telling folks they cant spend money on what they like to, however these kind of practices are in no way any less predatory and in the long run evil.

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Arktouros

Well with any topic it’s a bit more complex than all that. Comparing corporations who largely work within the confines of the legal system and a cartel who works outside/against it makes for very different scenarios.

The key part why it doesn’t work for the corporation is because the product doesn’t inherently destroy lives or the endanger those around us. For example if you become intoxicated you become physically impaired which has the potential for you to harm yourself and others. Same thing with regulations on things like second hand smoke. With predatory business practices like loot boxes it’s not like I buy 5 boxes and now poor Bruno loses a level on his character or loses something of value. Like your worst case scenario is it’s a p2w game and I get some cool thing I can flex on other players in a video game. 261 deaths a day from people literally drinking themselves to death btw. This idea we need to protect people when in almost every other measurable way we just don’t do that is just very strange when looked at objectively.

You can’t regulate morality. No amount of legislation or regulation or otherwise is going to stop companies from being predatory or evil. You remove lock boxes, they will add something worse. I’m not saying that to excuse them or give them a free pass but point out that just because we want evil to be stopped doesn’t mean we can actually make it stop.

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Hostagecat

Nothing is ever cut and dried…. yes i understand that there are other industries that are as bad…tobacco being one.
I totally understand what your saying, i also think we allow this kind of behavior because we veil it behind the curtain of decency. If perhaps we were more condemning and didn’t support it it would go away.
However you are right Alcohol has been legal and a blight, but they did actually try to regulate it. It didn’t work all that well, and saw the rise of organized crime.
So yeah nobody has a magic bullet to fix this issue. However turning a blind eye to it and condoning it to me seems a recipe for allowing them to continue to prey on people.

But yeah i totally understand you and agree its not an easy problem to fix, your right the metaphor probably is way to broad.

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Bruno Brito

poor Bruno

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Bruno Brito

But, if this was drug cartel intent on keeping its customers hooked…..well its time to wage a war on drugs.

“Fun” fact: We don’t. The war on drugs anywhere normally are an extremely waste of taxpayer money, they achieve almost nothing, and end up with lots of innocent people locked up or dead. Drugs are solved by legalization and by making them a medical issue, not a criminal issue.

Doing a hook for your argument: It’s really not that simple. While a lot of people don’t like lockboxes, taking them out will annoy a small but vocal ammount of people about “muh freedoms”.

Also, taking lockboxes away would require us to make corporations hate money. Good luck with that.

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Bruno Brito

This is the kind of article that reminds me that people are paid to engage in these semantic twistings.

“It’s engagement, not predation”.

Jesus Christ.

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McGuffn

“These are not the surprise mechanics you are looking for.”

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Arktouros

Honestly the interview reads like literally any interview with any other huge corporation out there. There was an article here on this website literally talking about how to do player retention in games even. A company talking about customer retention and customer engagement and all that is extremely par the course for anyone who has any kind of extended dealings with these companies.

Frankly it’s quite boring to be honest, just some Corpo repeating the same talking point over and over which while not wrong as usual utterly fails to address why people are upset.

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Bruno Brito

You’re not wrong. I just don’t know how are you even able to still read these things. I can’t, it’s always the same shit. And people are paid to make these texts sound as life-draining as possible.

Everytime i hear PR speak about engagement and metrics, i think about Aliens trying to dominate us by relating to us by entertainment and failing miserably because they use cold hard logic towards emotional things. I don’t know, it’s exhausting.

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Anstalt

Yet more reasons to continue boycotting EA.

I’ve managed to hold strong for 8 years now and I don’t feel I’ve missed out. I would have been bummed about the Star Wars games, but it’s EA, so those games were never going to be aimed at me.

Only thing I’m genuinely bummed about through my boycott is the recent purchase of Codemasters. Not the greatest studio in the world but they made some fun racing games (and recently bought Project Cars studio). Now that EA owns them, I won’t be buying any more of their games

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Schlag Sweetleaf
TOOLS OF ENGAGEMENT.gif
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McGuffn

Liars.
Does EA no longer care if people feel pride and accomplishment from using their products?
Reminds me of the time EA lied to the british parliament.
They’re not lockboxes, they’re surprise mechanics!
They’re not surprise mechanics they’re engagement.

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Arktouros

See I never really cared that they labeled their loot boxes as “surprise mechanics” because it’s kinda a clever name for the whole random prize style product (kinder egg, crackerjack box, etc).

What annoyed me was they said they were fun and enjoyable when they’re just so clearly not. I’ve never seen anyone engage with loot boxes and earnestly go “This is so enjoyable and fun.”

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McGuffn

For me it was the lady they had testifying was all, WE CALL THEM SURPRISE MECHANICS NOT LOCKBOXES just a couple days before/after the CEO of the freaking company called them lockboxes. Not fooling anybody.

plus a lot of surprise mechanics aren’t pay to win or predatory.

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Arktouros

Why would you need to fool anybody when everybody is too busy fooling themselves? Most of these kinds of endeavors are 100% political theater designed to lobbying money thrown at them. It happens all the time in the tech world.

If political bodies really wanted to get things done they’d just do it like the countries that already have.

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Utakata

From the Mr. Schlag files: Worth repeating… <3

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Khrome

Re: the title, engagement and monetization are the exact same thing to EA. Not sure who they thinking they’re kidding here.

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Armsman

In related news: Behind on his rent Tenant SWEARS to his landlord:

“Yeah, the check’s in the mail…” ;)

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Nathan Aldana

see the difference here is Landlords are evil, just like corporations.