A high-rank­ing exec­u­tive at Elec­tron­ic Arts has respond­ed to crit­i­cisms of FIFA’s loot box sys­tem, say­ing 90% of the FIFA Ulti­mate Team player­base does not spend real mon­ey to open packs. Speak­ing to Eurogamer, EA chief expe­ri­ence offi­cer Chris Bruz­zo defend­ed FIFA’s use of loot box­es. Of course, these loot box­es make EA a lot of mon­ey but have also been controversial–even lead­ing to gov­ern­ment inquiries.

Let me be very very clear about this point: nine out of 10 FUT packs that are opened in FIFA are opened with coins. Coins are earned by play­ing the game. That’s not real-world mon­ey,” Bruz­zo said.

Bruz­zo said that FIFA allow­ing play­ers to spend real mon­ey to make the best pos­si­ble team resem­bles how real-world sports work. “In real-world foot­ball, you can use resources to assem­ble the best pos­si­ble squad. And in our video game, you can use either FUT Coins or FIFA Points,” Bruz­zo said. “And nine out of 10 packs are opened with FUT Coins, which are earned by play­ers who are play­ing the game.”

Bruz­zo also point­ed out that 78% of all play­ers for FIFA 21, the lat­est game with data avail­able on the sub­ject, nev­er spent money.

Reg­u­la­tors around the world have made it clear that loot box­es do not con­sti­tute a form of gam­bling; research­es also agree, Bruz­zo stat­ed. In the UK, this isn’t the case and Bruz­zo said EA is “active­ly work­ing with the gov­ern­ment” to find a solu­tion. “We’re at the table with our indus­try part­ners and with the gov­ern­ment. And we’re ready to hear what those issues are. And we’re ready to engage on real solu­tions, because we’re real peo­ple,” Bruz­zo said.

Bruz­zo went on to admit that he gets frus­trat­ed and upset when he hears reports about any kind of neg­a­tive report around FIFA and peo­ple spend­ing too much money.

When I hear about an indi­vid­ual who has spent too much time or too much mon­ey in FIFA, it pains me. It dri­ves us, actu­al­ly. We don’t want that. We’re not build­ing the game for that,” Bruz­zo said. “So it dri­ves me to want to encour­age things like the FIFA Play­time dash­boards, to encour­age parental con­trols, to spend real dol­lars with organ­i­sa­tions like Inter­net Mat­ters, to mas­sive­ly increase aware­ness around how many con­trols par­ents have around spend­ing, not just in our game, but in all games. So we’re ready. We will work on real solu­tions. But we need to get to some kind of consensus.”

Also with­in this inter­view, Bruz­zo addressed anoth­er crit­i­cism of FIFA’s Ulti­mate Team mode–how chil­dren and young peo­ple can spend mon­ey on the game. Of course, this goes against what EA’s wants. “Kids should not be spend­ing in our game. Chil­dren should not be spend­ing in FIFA,” Bruz­zo said. 

He did say EA is tak­ing steps to make sure chil­dren can­not spend real mon­ey in Ulti­mate Team by work­ing with plat­form-hold­ers and cre­at­ing a sys­tem in the game itself that does­n’t allow peo­ple under 18 to use money.

When we look at account signups, we see very low per­cent­age of accounts of peo­ple under the age of 18,” Bruz­zo said. “But more impor­tant­ly, our default is set to no spend­ing for accounts under 18. And we work with Sony and we work with Microsoft to also insti­tute spend­ing con­trols as a default for chil­dren. Kids should not be spend­ing in FIFA full stop.”