Loot boxes will be making a comeback in FIFA 23’s Ultimate Team mode. In a recent statement, EA has confirmed that loot boxes will be a part of the 2023 edition, which is the last game of the company’s FIFA series.
The confirmation from EA regarding the status of loot boxes comes after legislators from the United Kingdom refused to regulate the in-game microtransaction system during its inquiry into the matter.
The government has stated that regulating loot boxes “would have significant implementation challenges and risks of unintended consequences". This is in contrast to the moves of several other European countries, to legislate and fine game companies for the use of loot boxes in their games.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), however, reminded game developers that it "will not hesitate to consider legislation if companies do not bring in sufficient measures to keep players safe".
The government calls for game companies to self-regulate and implement additional safeguards for the benefit of consumers, especially younger gamers. The government released the outcome of its inquiry through a 32,000-word report last July 18, 2022.
The move not to legislate microtransactions has effectively given EA the go-ahead it needs to continue with loot boxes. The UK has one of the largest player bases for the FIFA game franchise.
For its part, EA has defended the move saying:
We wholeheartedly believe that Ultimate Team and FUT Packs, which have been part of the game for more than a decade, are a part of FIFA that players love - fans love that the game reflects the real-world excitement and strategy of building and managing a squad. Giving players the choice to spend if they want to is fair.
It's worth saying that spending is entirely optional in our game, and we do not encourage spending over earning rewards through gameplay. FUT Packs work in just the same way whether they are paid for or earned, and most players don't spend in-game at all. For example, nine out of 10 FUT Packs opened in FIFA 22 were earned.
Loot boxes and microtransactions have been a major income source for EA. According to its Q1 2023 report, FIFA Ultimate team generated the lion’s share of the revenue. Andrew Wilson, CEO of EA stated:
Our EA SPORTS FIFA franchise is exceptionally strong on a global basis, with record business for Q1 in Asia. FUT engagement is growing nearly 40% year over year, which is well above the industry average.
In 2020, Ultimate Team microtransactions earned the company $1.5 billion, with a huge part of it coming via the FIFA series.
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Last game of the series
The 30th edition of the game will be the final installment of the FIFA series from EA. The first FIFA game under EA debuted in 1993 with FIFA International Soccer. The swansong edition will feature the FIFA World Cup 2022 and Women’s World Cup 2023 game modes.
EA’s licensing agreement with the football governing body is set to end this year with the parties unable to reach a new deal for future titles. EA will be building its own football brand called EA Sports FC for future games.
FIFA 23 will be available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox X/S, Google Stadia, and Nintendo Switch on September 30, 2022.