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FIFA 23 will keep loot boxes despite government ban threat

Football sim FIFA 23 will continue to include the controversial FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) ‘loot boxes’ despite a recent threat from the UK government to take action against games companies.

Just last month the government stopped short of a ban on the practice, considered akin to gambling, but pledged to take action if gaming companies don’t self regulate.

Now officials might have an early chance to intervene as EA has confirmed the latest and final instalment of the FIFA series will continue to house the feature. In a statement to Eurogamer, the company defended the FUT packs, claiming 90 per cent of team packs in the last game were earned by gamers, rather than paid for.

“We wholeheartedly believe that Ultimate Team and FUT Packs, which have been part of the game for more than a decade, are a part of FIFA that players love – fans love that the game reflects the real-world excitement and strategy of building and managing a squad. Giving players the choice to spend if they want to is fair,” EA said in a statement.

“It’s worth saying that spending is entirely optional in our game, and we do not encourage spending over earning rewards through game play. FUT Packs work in just the same way whether they are paid for or earned, and most players don’t spend in game at all. For example, nine out of 10 FUT Packs opened in FIFA 22 were earned.”

In July, the UK government served notice to gaming companies, citing fears over children’s safety and research suggesting those purchasing loot boxes encouraged more harmful behaviours.

“We want to stop children going on spending sprees online without parental consent, spurred on by in-game purchases like loot-boxes,” says the Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries.

“Games companies and platforms need to do more to ensure that controls and age-restrictions are applied so that players are protected from the risk of gambling harms. Children should be free to enjoy gaming safely, whilst giving parents and guardians the peace of mind they need.”

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