Despite having been criticized heavily for its decision to implement loot boxes extensively in its games for the better part of the past decade, EA insists on using the controversial monetization mechanic in its games. FIFA 22 is no exception. As a result, the recently released FIFA installment is under heavy fire, especially now that EA has decided to add even more ways to monetize the game.
However, according to EA's Chief Experience Officer, this is all intentional. Chris Bruzzo even goes as far as to describe it as part of their effort to "reflect the real world of football."
Bruzzo's stance on loot boxes makes FIFA 22 even more controversial
Earlier this year, FIFA 22 quickly found itself in hot water after its official reveal. Many players expressed their disappointment that EA was hiding the next-gen versions of the game behind a hefty price premium. Not to mention, EA purposely limited the PC version of FIFA 22 and excluded it from next-gen features such as the game's highly marketed HyperMotion technology.
Although several other companies have since joined EA in making next-gen versions of cross-gen games more expensive, it's the loot boxes that gamers have an issue with.
There is mounting pressure from government bodies to reclassify if not completely remove loot boxes from games altogether. However, despite the growing opposition, EA brought back Ultimate Team for FIFA 22. In addition to this, EA also added preview packs, which EA experimented on first with FIFA 21. Although preview packs do let gamers see what's inside a pack before buying, EA installed a fail-safe in which the contents of the same pack will remain the same for 24 hours unless bought.
With that said, Bruzzo's opinion on why EA insists on adding loot boxes to FIFA 22 should only add to the criticism and backlash.
In an interview with Eurogame's Wesley Yin-Poole, Bruzzo described the loot boxes as essential to "strengthen the connection between the real world sport and the game." He makes it clear just how much effort EA put into crafting loot boxes to "mirror what it feels like", alluding to real-life soccer. Bruzzo even uses a team that he supports, Everton, as an example.
Even if Everton's best players are on the sidelines and are dealing with injuries right now, the team still managed to put up a worthy effort against Manchester United. Bruzzo wants players in FIFA 22 to feel exactly what general managers in football feel in real life. Unfortunately, there is a flaw in this analogy. For one, in real-life football, it's the one with the most money that almost always wins because the team with the deepest coffers can buy whichever player they want to play for them.
Bruzzo's other statements in the same interview also make it clear that EA doesn't intend to do anything about children and loot boxes. For Bruzzo, there are very few players with an EA account that are under 18. Because of this, it makes no sense to limit the spending of accounts by default.
With that said, the only way we see EA changing their stance about loot boxes is if government regulatory bodies around the world decide to label this mechanic as a form of gambling. If this happens, EA will have no choice but to rethink how the loot box mechanic in its games operates. Until then, FIFA 22 will remain a rich man's game.