Update: In response to the controversy which started a few days ago after Electronic Arts was spotted advertising FIFA Points to kids inside a Smyths Toys magazine, the publisher issued the following statement:
"We take very seriously the responsibilities we have when marketing EA games and experiences in channels seen by children. 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."
Original story: Shortly after placing in-game ads inside EA Sports UFC 4, the publisher is back in the news for another questionable tactic when it comes to advertising and promoting paid currencies. It was spotted over the weekend that ads for the upcoming FIFA 21 are directly suggesting fans should purchase FIFA Points in order to bolster their team as part of a second step to footballing success. The worst part? The advert has been printed in a Smyths Toys magazine — a publication targeted at children.
The FIFA franchise has gained a reputation over the past five or so years for predatory microtransactions as its incredibly popular Ultimate Team mode is fuelled by loot boxes that reward a random selection of players and items. Players can earn them simply by playing, but that usually isn't enough to build a world-beating squad. The cash does eventually have to be splashed if you want to properly compete, and given the popularity of FIFA with younger gamers, this type of advertising can be deemed questionable at the very least.
This isn't a new tactic from EA, however, as responses to the tweet above point out that the same set of advertising steps were also used for FIFA 20. The publisher has received continued criticism for its approach to microtransactions inside FIFA titles, but it doesn't appear to be having too much of an effect. Despite the inclusion of its own take on Battle Passes, EA keeps promoting FIFA Points as a way to fast-track yourself to the top of the leaderboard.
Over on Twitter, users shared their disbelief at the advertisement. @TyLuis12 said: "what the actual hell is this. In a magazine for kids, telling them to buy fifa points. Disgraceful", while @FutSpy commented: "Imagine putting an advert in a kids magazine to pressure them into buying FIFA Points. You lot are disgusting." @1886BKNETS sounded off by saying: "This is from a kids magazine advising kids to buy fifa points to use in FUT. I’m fine with fifa points being available, but normalizing it for kids is an all time low from EA".
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