Advertising Code Commission: EA advertised misleadingly with FIFA 18 FUT lootboxes

May

17

2018

The Advertising Code Commission has challenged EA for a misleading ad for the birthday selection of FIFA Ultimate Team. The advertising gave the impression that buyers of a package got one of the players from the selection.

The Advertising Code Committee ruled on Wednesday in a case that had been brought forward by the Nijmegen law student Dirk Arents. In March he bought twenty FIFA points for a Gold Ultimate package with thirty players. He did so after seeing an advertisement for a birthday selection at PlayStation Store.

EA advertised this in honor of the ninth anniversary of FIFA Ultimate Team. “Celebrate nine years of FUT with all kinds of events, such as special SSUs, weekly targets and a brand-new FUT birthday selection, available in packages from March 16”, was the accompanying text. The 23 players of the selection were shown in the advertisement.

“I saw the advertisement and thought, that’s a nice action,” Arents told Tweakers. “Everyone knows that it is almost impossible to get high-ranking footballers, and if they are available now, I’d rather pay twenty euros for that, was my thought, but they did not seem to be there.” The 23 special players were simply added to the existing FUT database of more than a thousand players, so there was only a small chance that a consumer would receive one of them in his package. Arents denounced the manner of advertising and dragged EA to the Advertising Code Commission: “I felt that the ad was misleading and that the game should also be classified as an illegal game of chance.”

EA defended itself with the statement that the advertisement does not give rise to the assumption that a buyer is guaranteed to receive one of the 23 players. “For the average FIFA 18 player, it should be clear that when purchasing a Gold Ultimate Pack, the promised 30 players are chosen from the pool of the FUT database, of which 23 players are only a part,” said the game publisher. EA also disputes that his games can be considered as gambling. The publisher also claims that he has not heard anything about this from the Gaming Authority. The Dutch Gaming Authority recently investigated ten popular games with lootboxes and stated that four of them violated the gambling law, without revealing which games are involved.

The Advertising Code Committee agreed with the student and ruled that the advertisement did not make it sufficiently clear that the 23 players were only added to the existing database and that the odds were no greater than those on one of the players already in the database. sat. The consumer therefore lacks ‘essential information to make an informed decision about a transaction’. Therefore, there is misleading advertising and EA violates the Dutch Advertising Code. The committee does not judge whether there is a game of chance, because the Gaming Authority deals with this and has given publishers until June 20 the time to adjust their games.

Arents is happy with the verdict, but is still considering appealing. “I continue to believe that it is a game of chance.” He also points out that there is currently a similar advertisement on the PlayStation, about the Team of the Season promotion. Nevertheless, according to the law student, it is not just a matter of principle. “If they had said right away: here you are twenty euros back, then it would have been ready for me, but they did not matter at any point.”

The Advertising Code Committee can not impose a sanction and in principle EA can disregard the decision, although this may be detrimental to any civil case. EA has two weeks to appeal against the judgment. EA has not yet responded to the question of whether the company appeals.

FIFA 18 FUT ad

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