EA is introducing a new tool in FIFA 21 that will help players control how much time and money they spend in the game, especially in Ultimate Team.
EA looks to be accepting that FIFA 21 and its other sports games essentially involve gambling in the Ultimate Team mode by adding a new tool that will allow players to control how much they spend on FUT card packs. Although the publisher is far from the only company to use microtransactions it has become something of a lightning rod for criticism. Most recently, EA faced accusations of advertising the microtransactions to young children in a toy catalog published by UK-based retailer Smyths Toys.
With several countries around the world now looking more closely at loot boxes and paid microtransactions. Nations such as Belgium and the Netherlands have already ruled that the FIFA series breaks gambling laws by selling loot boxes in Ultimate Team. EA faces either having to remove the microtransactions from the game or risk paying fines that could run into millions of dollars. With countries such as Canada and the UK also investigating the use of loot boxes in video games, developers and publishers are being forced to rethink how they are implemented.
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FIFA 21 is set to introduce a series of new tools to help players control their spending. EA revealed the news on the official forums for the game in patch notes for a new update. The most important is FIFA Playtime. This function will allow all players to limit practically every function in FIFA 21, including the ability for users to buy FIFA Points and open FUT Packs. It will also give up-to-date information about how long someone has been playing the title and how much they have spent on microtransactions within Ultimate Team. In essence, FIFA Playtime seems very like the controls that online casinos allow users to put in place to control their spending.
In other news, EA recently announced that the next-gen versions of popular titles like FIFA 21 and Madden NFL 21 will not launch until December. Although the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S are now available to players around the world, players will have to wait for the enhanced editions of the games. When they do release on December 4, the new versions will include improvements to the graphics and performance and will be available as free upgrades to current owners.
Considering how EA is facing legal problems in several countries over its use of loot boxes in Ultimate Team modes, it makes sense that the publisher is looking to appease critics. Giving players direct control over how much they can spend is a good step in the right direction, as it might stop some users from gambling too much money. However, it doesn’t really solve any of the major problems that people have with loot boxes so is unlikely to put a stop to regulators from the likes of the Netherlands from taking action.
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FIFA 21 is currently available on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
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