Peter Moore: FIFA Ultimate Team is 'a long way off' from gambling

Peter Moore: FIFA Ultimate Team is 'a long way off' from gambling
Video game industry veteran Peter Moore doesn't see FIFA Ultimate Team packs as gambling.

Moore served as president of EA Sports when the game mode was first introduced in the series, ie in 2008 in FIFA 09. After that, he held other positions at EA Sports, this before leaving the company and becoming CEO of Liverpool FC.

In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz about on his recent return to the industry as director of the mobile sports games division of publisher Nifty Games, he was asked what he thought about criticism of loot boxes and random monetization dynamics, a debate of which FIFA Ultimate Team has become a case of exemplary.

Peter Moore, Nifty Games Moore focused the discussion on the historic enthusiasm for sport, stating that the concept of Ultimate Team refers to a very ancient phenomenon such as that of collectible cards inserted in cigarette packs in the 1920s and 1930s, or the one, well known in the UK, of the so-called 'Lucky Bags', or packets of random objects containing toys or various activities: all things that have characterized his childhood. The experience of opening a box or an envelope whose contents are unknown generates feelings of excitement in many, and this explains the popularity of the unboxing videos of the Ultimate Team packages.

"The people loved it all, "says Moore. "I think the feeling of uncertainty that lies in 'what's in it?' and then, bang! Ronaldo or Messi pop out of the pack for a burst of excitement. A great thing to try. "

Loot boxes have been widely criticized in recent years, to the point that governments are questioning whether they can be considered as games of chance. Some states, such as Belgium and the Netherlands, have already classified them in this way and consequently have requested that they be removed from the game before the latter makes its debut on the market.

The crackdown around the loot boxes tightened up in 2017, particularly towards EA's Star Wars Battlefront 2, but the publisher has strongly defended its use of the mechanics implemented. He compared Ultimate Team to paper soccer cards, emphasizing that regardless of whether or not you find the player you want in the packages, you always get something that enhances the purchase. A juxtaposition Moore himself shares.

"You always get something out of packages," he explains. "It's not that you discard the pack and there are no players inside.

" This is a personal view, but the experience of surprise and excitement vs gambling ... in a straight line, they are concepts very distant from each other. You buy the gold pack with real money or by accumulating credits by ginding, you open it and you are satisfied, or disappointed because you find junk. I don't see it as a game of chance, but this is just my idea as a person now external to the phenomenon.

"I understand the criticism and negative judgments, I am aware that outside the sport the loot boxes are very criticized (and we are talking about yet another EA title). EA backed down in that case. One what they are good at is listening to feedback and realizing: 'do you know it's there? Maybe we shouldn't have done it'; remove the loot boxes and take a different path. "

Moore on the other hand suggests that the most telling factor should be the degree of complacency of the players, and EA's turnover certainly tells us a lot in that regard . Ultimate Team generated revenue of $ 1.49 billion, or 27% of the company's entire corporate revenue for the previous fiscal year, while it was $ 1 billion in at least two years prior to last year.

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"These numbers speak for themselves," says Moore. "If you play Ultimate Team you fall in love. The only regret we had on Ultimate Team while working at EA was on the servers, which were almost never as they should have been: they often went down and could not be played, or were congested making the unresponsive game. "

" Ultimate Team has become an exceptional service and practically reinvented FIFA at a time when the franchise was stagnant and anchored in its antiquated concepts. "

Last year, EA launched FIFA Playtime a way to help Ultimate Team fans realize how much money they are spending in the mode. However, North American publisher Brendan Sinclair pointed out that doing this opens the way to new financial challenges.

Our full interview on Moore's return to games will be released next week.

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