EA has come under many loot-box controversies as of late with them calling loot-box system as “Surprise Mechanics”. EA has been lobbying hard in favour of loot-box mechanics and almost every game they make now features this “Surprise Mechanic”. Even the games that are priced at $60 or are free-2-play, EA games feature loot-box system.

So now you might ask what are these loot-boxes? Loot-boxes (or Surprise mechanics) are form of in-game transaction that a player can do in order to attain certain in-game items. The content of these loot-boxes is hidden and only revealed after player purchases and opens them.

In case of FIFA 19, these loot-boxes features player cards which are used to build teams and compete in games ultimate team mode. These player cards are obtained from card packs which have different tiers that cost differently with more expensive packs having higher chances to drop rare player cards. Rating of cards is based on the card rank such as Bronze, Silver and Gold with the Gold featuring the best ( or god stats).

As per BBC’s report, 4 children emptied their parents’ bank account after purchasing FIFA card packs in FIFA 19 on Nintendo Switch. The kids observed their father make purchase once and remembered it. Later on, the kids went on shopping craze and bought many FIFA card packs spending a total of £550.

Mr. Carter’s bank statement, via BBC

Thomas Carter, the father of 4 kids, once bought them a single pack for £8. However, he did not realize that the card number was saved by Nintendo Switch and also, he didn’t setup a unique pin number to used to approve every purchase. Therefore, the children were able to gain access to their parent’s bank account and went on to emptying it to get lucky with Golden Messi card.

The parents didn’t realize this until their card was declined due to insufficient balance. Later on, the parent’s confiscated the Switch and contacted Nintendo. Nintendo promised to reverse all transactionsand refund all the money and removing all the players from the account.

Mr. Carter also accepted that he was short-sighted and didn’t take proper precautions against the 1st transaction. Although he still voiced concerns regarding loot box systems, and said: “You pay £40 (~$50) for the game, which is a lot of money in itself, but then the only way to get a great team is essentially by gambling”.

Since FIFA 19 is rated 3+ years many kids can fall prey to a similar thing. The Loot-box mechanic is predatory and believe it or not is a form of gambling and have implications on the mind of young children. EA had been called out a numerous time for this predatory in-game transaction mechanic, but they still don’t do anything about it and just brush reports like this aside.

Photo: FOX Sports Asia

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