Update: Electronic Arts has removed the advertisement found in Smyths Toys magazine regarding FIFA Points.
An EA spokesperson has explained to PocketGamer.biz that the advertisement should not have appeared, and that the company is now reviewing all future media placements.
“We take very seriously the responsibilities we have when marketing EA games and experiences in channels seen by children," said the spokesperson.
"In spite of this, we’re aware that advertising for FIFA Points has appeared in environments it shouldn’t have. We have been working diligently with Smyths to ensure this advertisement is not distributed in any remaining copies of their 2020 catalogue.
"We have also undertaken an immediate review of all future media placements and are working to ensure each of our marketing efforts better reflects the responsibility we take for the experience of our younger players.”
Orginal Story: Electronic Arts has come under fire for the promotion of FIFA loot boxes via an in-store magazine for UK retail firm Smyths Toys.
As reported by VGC, the latest version of the magazine has a step-by-step guide on building the ultimate team within FIFA, step two of which is "use FIFA points to open packs."
FIFA Points are the in-game currency for the football franchise and are used specifically to buy player packs – the series' version of loot boxes – for the ultimate team mode.
An image containing the magazine ad was placed on Twitter by user @AllFifaMistakes. However, a second image was added, demonstrating that this is not the first time that Electronic Arts has advertised FIFA microtransactions.
That's a foul
Not only has EA's move warranted a negative response on Twitter, but Reddit users have also shown their disdain for advertising loot boxes in a kid's magazine.
"Yeah I find this extremely wrong as not only is it in a kid's magazine, but they are actually saying that you should go about the game by buying points and opening packs. Normalizing in-game purchases for kids since an early age is so fucking unethical," reads a top-rated comment.
Recently, the UK government made a call for evidence regarding loot boxes, be it positive or negative, to help determine whether or not the in-game purchase option should be classed as gambling.
Last year, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) suggested that the UK parliament deem loot boxes a form of gambling, therefore meaning they need to adhere to the gambling laws. Moreover, DCMS believe children to be at risk to these purchase options.