EA removes FIFA 21 ad selling loot boxes to children after backlash - Dexerto
FIFA

EA removes FIFA 21 ad selling loot boxes to children after backlash

Published: 1/Oct/2020 5:30 Updated: 1/Oct/2020 5:47

by Bill Cooney

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September 30 update (9:30pm PT): EA has pulled the advertisement from all toy magazines, including the one shown in Smyths, promoting buying FIFA points in the lead-up to FIFA 21.

They have also apologized for not upholding their “responsibility we take for the experience of our younger players.”

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“We take very seriously the responsibilities we have when marketing EA games and experiences in channels seen by children,” they told Eurogamer in a statement.

Earlier: EA is under fire after users on the internet posted pictures of advertisements for FIFA 21 in-game purchases placed inside a children’s toy magazine.

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It’s that time of year again, the air is getting cooler, the holidays are fast approaching, and there’s a new FIFA game about to come out on October 6.

In the year 2020 it’s not strange at all to see ads for video games amongst other kinds of toys in your usual holiday catalogs (if you don’t already do all your shopping online). However ads for in-game transactions and not the games themselves are becoming more and more common, and people don’t seem to be too thrilled with the idea.

On Sept. 26 A Twitter account by the name of AllFifamistakes posted a picture from one of the latest in-store magazines for UK company Smyths Toys. The ad, for FIFA’s popular Ultimate Team mode, lists four steps for players to play FUT, with the second being “use FIFA points to open packs.”

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As any good FUT player knows, FIFA Points are the digital currency that is used specifically for that mode to unlock player packs, which are basically random loot boxes containing player cards and other upgrades.

Enough arguments have been made for and against loot boxes being a form of gambling than we could list in a series of articles, but they are one of the most unpopular features in modern-day gaming, and seen as a way for companies to keep cashing in on consumers after the fork out the sticker price just to play the game.

The fact that it’s in a toy magazine where a kid will most likely see it and bother his or her parent about buying them FIFA Points for some player packs is what seems to have ticked most people off, with some accusing EA of promoting gambling to their younger fans. However, this isn’t even the first FIFA game to employ such marketing tactics.

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As you can see above, EA SPORTS has been advertising using FIFA Points to open packs as part of their “four steps to FUT success” for at least a year now, with the exact same wording appearing on adverts for FIFA 20 back around holiday season 2019.

Like gambling itself, it doesn’t seem as though loot boxes will be going away any time soon no matter how unpopular they may be, but people obviously aren’t too fond of ads for them being waved under kids’ noses.

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Call of Duty

Activision allows CDL and OWL teams to skip franchise payments in 2020

Published: 30/Sep/2020 3:18 Updated: 30/Sep/2020 3:24

by Brad Norton

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Both Call of Duty League (CDL) and Overwatch League (OWL) organizations have been allowed by Activision Blizzard to dodge multimillion-dollar franchise fees in 2020.

In the midst of an extremely turbulent year, to say the least, both CDL and OWL competition has continued forward. The best Call of Duty players competed in an online postseason with $4.6 million on the line.

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Meanwhile, the best Overwatch players are currently gearing up for the Grand Final Weekend which kicks off on October 8 in South Korea.

Despite the wrenches thrown in the gears for both leagues, Activision has pressed forward in 2020. However, the leagues haven’t quite operated how they were supposed to. Proper events with thousands of attendees came to a halt. Home Series and Homestands alike were both off the table due to the ongoing lockdown.

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Fleta playing for Seoul Dynasty in 2019 OWL
Ben Pursell for Blizzard
Overwatch League will soon be returning to LAN competition, though without crowds for the Grand Finals Weekend.

With a huge chunk of change supposed to come from these live events, organizations certainly took a hit. As a result, Activision Blizzard is foregoing the need to pay millions in franchise fees this calendar year.

Sponsorship deals, merchandise sales, and prize winnings are just a few of the ways in which these orgs make money. When factoring in player and staff salaries, content costs, and everything else along the way, however, these fees add up. One of the planned means of generating revenue across the CDL and OWL was through live events.

Just four LAN events were held during the inaugural CDL season before the switch to online. OWL had six LAN events across North America before the same pivot.

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It’s during these events that orgs look to turn a profit through ticket sales and merch stands. With these opportunities coming to a halt, teams haven’t been able to make the amount they would have projected at the beginning of 2020.

Houston Outlaws fans at an Overwatch League homestand event
Ben Pursell for Blizzard Entertainment
There’s no telling when crowds might be allowed back to live events.

As a result, Activision Blizzard is allowing them to defer multimillion-dollar franchise fees that were reportedly due this year, according to The Washington Post. As many paid upwards of $20 million to acquire franchise slots in either league, payments are expected on an annual basis.

Due to the lack of live events, these repayments have the option of being postponed. Some orgs may choose to continue paying back in 2020, but the choice is there to hold off until 2021 for the teams that need it.

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Twitter: LAGuerrillas
The final LAN event of the 2020 season took place in Los Angeles on March 7.

There’s no currently no ETA on when live events will return.

Options to establish bubbles akin to the NBA have been in discussion for the 2021 CDL season, and the OWL Finals are indeed taking place in a safe South Korean hub, though the return of crowds could still be a ways off.

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