French Lawyers File Suits Against EA Over FIFA Ultimate Team

  • Two Parisian lawyers want to highlight the risks of gambling-like elements in video games
  • Pair argue that players must spend money to be successful on FIFA's Ultimate Team mode
  • One of the lawyer's clients has spent hundreds of euros on these packs without much success
  • Hoping to gain an insight into how FIFA’s algorithm distributes the best players in packs
FIFA 20 for PS4 console
Two Parisian lawyers have taken legal action against Electronic Arts for not classifying FIFA’s Ultimate Team mode as a form of gambling. [Image:]

Parisian lawyers take action

Two suits have been filed in France against Electronic Arts (EA), arguing that FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) should be classified as a form of gambling.

Victor Zagury and Karim Morand-Lahouazi are the Paris-based lawyers taking on EA. Their aim is to highlight the risk that video games can pose when they are not properly classified for having gambling-like elements.

Victor Zagury and Karim Morand-Lahouazi are the Paris-based lawyers taking on EA

The Ultimate Team game mode has been very popular among gamers since it was first integrated in FIFA 09. Players purchase card packs in-game in the hope of adding the best players to their club. These card packs are randomized and can be purchased with real money or FIFA points, the soccer game’s currency.

Client spent €600 on FUT packs

The Parisian lawyers argue that gamers must gamble in order to secure the game’s best players. While you can purchase packs from tokens earned through playing the game, the rate at which you earn these tokens is low. This is why many gamers choose to purchase packs using real money. 

Zagury highlighted the issue by using one of his clients as an example. His client spent €600 ($663) over the course of five months on Ultimate Team packs without securing any of the best players.

The lawyer went on to say: “The developers of this game mode have created an illusionary and particularly addictive system. The more you pay, the more you have the possibility of getting big players.”

Zagury said that Ultimate Team is a form of gambling because purchasing these card packs is a bet and nothing more. He likened it to a casino in the home. As FIFA is not an age-restricted game, youngsters can play Ultimate Team as much as they want and spend money as they please, oftentimes without having any sort of parental control. 

The lawyers hope that the action they have taken will give them an insight into the algorithm that determines how player cards are distributed in packs.

Gambling-like elements in video games

The idea that video games contain forms of gambling has become more of a prevalent topic in recent years. The idea of “pay-to-win” through microtransactions and the likes of loot boxes has become a hot topic.

Countless examples show underage kids spending hundreds and thousands of euro on these in-game transactions. A number of regulators have introduced restrictions or bans on loot boxes in video games, including Belgium and the Netherlands.

EA eventually backed down after being threatened with fines by various European authorities

Belgium found itself locked in a battle with EA. The publisher tried to fight Belgium’s ban on loot boxes. EA CEO Andrew Wilson said he did not believe that Ultimate Team packs were gambling. However, EA eventually backed down after being threatened with fines by various European authorities. 

In July 2019, the UK Gambling Commission (UGC) said that it does not deem Ultimate Team packs to be akin to gambling

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