How did we get from FIFA to Gambling? Well if you’ve played any of the recent EA sports games, you’ll quickly learn that they’re crammed packed with loot boxes. These Loot boxes or as EA likes to call them, “surprise mechanics” have been under increased scrutiny in recent years and for good reason. A recent study by researchers from the universities of Plymouth and Wolverhampton, found that “loot boxes are structurally and psychologically akin to gambling”.
The study also found that a large number of the people interacting with said loot boxes are children. You wouldn’t approve of your kids going to the pub for a pint or being able to buy adult magazines at the corner shop, would you? So why are so many parents fine with their kids playing these problem games? Well the truth is, they just don’t know or have chosen to turn a blind eye to it. Countries like Belgium have banned them and in the UK the House of Lords have already said that they should be considered games of chance – which would bring them under the Gambling Act 2005.
Through the new research, it was discovered among the 93% of children who play video games, up to 40% open loot boxes. That’s about half of the child population already participating in gambling before the age of 18.
Other findings included:
- About 5% of gamers generate the entire revenue from loot boxes
- Twelve out of 13 studies on the topic have established “unambiguous” connections to problem gambling behaviour
- Young men are the most likely to use loot boxes – with young age and lower education correlating with increased uses
Gaming publishers have achieved these staggering figures by use of psychological nudges. Some of these include FOMO (Fear of missing out and limited-time offers. These are tactics even adults struggle to handle well, so clearly kids don’t stand a chance. It’s obvious that it’ll take government intervention to properly regulate these practices but until then and even after, PARENTS, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE YOUR CHILD’S PHYSICAL AND MENTAL SAFTEY.
How to Stop FIFA to Gambling Practices?
If you’re a parent, a responsible parent, then you wouldn’t have your kids play games like FIFA unsupervised. If you do find yourself playing it with them, then try to avoid modes like FUT (FIFA Ultimate Team). Also keep in mind that FIFA isn’t the only bad actor in this space, its just the most popular. Games like PES, NBA 2K, Gears of War and Apex Legends also have the same dangerous systems.