After receiving justified backlash regarding their strategy to include advertising of microransactions in a chidren’s toy magazine, EA have today rectified their mistake. All remaining copies of Smyths’ Toy magazine will not feature the age inappropriate marketing – despite countless issues having already found their way into the hands of the younger generation. And they will work to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen again.
However, their statement does little to explain how the whole thing came about in the first place in, what must have been, an approved marketing strategy for FIFA 21. After all, such decisions are the result of numerous box tickings from numerous people in different departments. So, the question has to be, how did this ever come to be an acceptable form of advertising for the game? And what exactly will be done to prevent it happening again? Because, let’s face it, this isn’t the first microtransaction controversy the company has found themselves in. And an internal review doesn’t always lead to actionable change
The official statement read:
“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.”
Which apparently features a complete absence of the word ‘sorry‘, suggesting to me that the enormity of their error hasn’t been realised.
But the truth is, the destructive habits that can be triggered by such premium content cannot be underestimated. And, if they must remain a common feature of games for the foreseeable future, all measures must be taken to safeguard those who are most at risk/vulnerable to their consequences. A company that is in a position of trust, like EA, has no excuse to make errors like this. In fact, the whole point of a marketing campaign is to recognise the various audiences and cater the material to each. So, this is a breach of all good faith bestowed by parents and guardians, regardless of how they wish to play it out. Yet, I doubt it will be the last we see by any party.