FIFA Ultimate Team Loot Boxes Are Not Gambling, Former Exec Peter Moore Says

Peter Moore says the "surprise and delight" tactic of opening cards in FIFA Ultimate Team is a far cry from actual gambling.

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Former Electronic Arts executive Peter Moore has come out to defend FIFA's Ultimate Team mode, saying he does not believe its loot boxes constitute a form of gambling as lawsuits have claimed.

Speaking to GI.biz, the executive said he believes the way that FIFA Ultimate Team's loot boxes employ a "surprise and delight" tactic is a far cry from actual gambling.

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"You're always getting something," he said. "It's not like you opened it and there's no players in there. This is a personal view, but the concept of surprise and delight vs gambling ... on a continuum, they're a long way from each other. You buy or grind your way up to getting a gold pack, you open it up, and you're either happy or you think it's a crappy pack. I don't see that as gambling, per se--but again, this is my personal view as an outsider right now."

Moore, who is now a board member at Nifty Games following a run as an executive with the Liverpool Football Club, said he understands why such mechanisms are controversial. At the same time, he defended his former employer and praised EA for responding to feedback after the Star Wars: Battlefront II loot box controversy.

"I get the scrutiny, I understand outside of sports that loot boxes--again, another EA title in particular--get a lot of scrutiny and criticism. EA pulled back on that," he said. "One thing they're always good at is getting feedback and realizing 'You know what, probably shouldn't have done that' or 'That was the wrong decision, it wasn't gamer-first,' and then pulling back and making a different decision."

Also in the interview, Moore pointed out that EA isn't doing anything new with its Ultimate Team mode and its various loot boxes. The concept dates back to the 1920s with with collectible cigarette cards and others like it. It is part of the human condition that opening a pack of something--anything--will be an exciting proposition that encourages people to pay money for a chance to get something good, Moore said.

"I think that sense of uncertainty and 'What are you going to get?' and then bang, Ronaldo or Messi would roll out and that's a wonderful thing," he said of FIFA's loot boxes.

The Ultimate Team modes for FIFA and EA's other sports games are incredibly lucrative. For the previous financial year, EA's Ultimate Team modes collectively brought in $1.49 billion.

EA was hit with a class-action lawsuit in 2020 over FIFA's Ultimate Team mode. The lawsuit, which was filed in California, claims that Ultimate Team mode violates the state's anti-gambling statute. This case is ongoing.

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