It’s not a day in video game news if loot boxes don’t come up at least once. In this case, Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson insisted during an investor call that microtransactions like FIFA Ultimate Team packs should not be considered gambling.
Wilson stated that “we don’t believe that FIFA Ultimate Team or loot boxes are gambling,” pointing out that “players always receive a specified number of items in each FUT pack” and that EA does not “provide or authorize any way to cash out or sell items or virtual currency for real money.”
This, of course, comes after the several claims that loot boxes are a form of gambling and should be illegal. Recently, both Belgium and the Netherlands have ruled that many of these loot boxes violate specific laws for their respective countries.
Even with this, it seems that EA is still going full steam with its microtransactions. Wilson has made the claim that they are “going to continue to push forward” amidst the controversy and that they are “always thinking about [the] players.
"We’re always thinking about how to deliver these types of experiences in a transparent, fun, fair, and balanced way for our players," he said.
However, EA has also confirmed that its Ultimate Team modes in their various sports games are by far the biggest bread winners for the company. Wilson explained that, even with no major game release, EA has grown to $1.25 billion during its last quarter. It makes sense financially that EA would guard against removing this service, no matter the negative views against it.
Wilson also stated that they are working and communicating with regulators, who have “evaluated and established that programs like FIFA Ultimate Team are not gambling.” For now, though, it seems that EA will need to continue to try and convince policymakers around the world that its microtransactions should not be likened to a casino.