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How much money have you spent on a video game? Well thanks to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Michael from the UK discovered he had spent over $10,000 on FIFA games. In case you don’t know, the GDPR is a regulation for individuals within the European Union and the European Economic Area. The GDPR is based on EU law regarding an individual’s right to data protection and privacy. The information Michael received contained data from FIFA 16, FIFA 17, and FIFA 18.
FIFA 18 player uses GDPR and learns he spent $10,000
In an interview with Eurogamer, Michael said he contacted EA to learn how the company was using his data. Michael, an avid FIFA player, stated: “I would play Ultimate Team more or less every day, I used it as my downtime and my hobby. Depending on the time I have free, I can spend anything from 30 minutes to six hours playing.” What Michael found out was that he had spent over $10,000 in the last two years, as well as played the game for hundreds of hours.
He contacted EA regarding the data they collected on him. Within 30 days, he received his information. EA sent Michael two PDF files containing details on pretty much everything regarding FIFA. These files gave Michael information such as: goals scored, matches played, time spent playing, and activity regarding Ultimate Team. The files even provided information about the players Michael has bought and sold in Ultimate Team. To see more images of the information given to Michael, click here.
The reason why he felt the need to find out this information was based on the controversy surrounding the “fairness” of FIFA 18. “I was intrigued to see if any of the data related to any of these topics,” Michael said. To be more specific, he is referring to “momentum” and “loot boxes.” Many players have voiced their concerns over the idea of momentum during FIFA games. The theory is that FIFA cheats its players by giving the losing team a helping hand. These momentum claims can come in the form of dubious calls or even a change in the way the in-game mechanics feel. Loot boxes, on the other hand, refer to the player card packs purchased in Ultimate Team. Like in most sports games, FIFA players can buy card packs using “FIFA points” or “FUT coins.”
After finding out the information provided by EA, Michael was not surprised at the results. He went on to say, “Upon reflection, the figure EA stated would be correct, special events such as Black Friday, TOTY, FUT Birthday, TOTS, Futties, etc. I would have thrown in thousands upon thousands of FIFA Points without even a second thought.” What concerned Michael was how this information could affect people with lower incomes. He goes on to say that while this doesn’t affect him too much because of his salary, he has sympathy for people in lower-income situations who may have become addicted to purchasing loot boxes in FIFA 18.
While the files EA provided contained information on a variety of topics, some were held back. In response to Michael, EA says “we have also withheld data impacting the security and integrity of EA products and services, data that, if disclosed, would affect the rights and freedoms of others, including EA, and any other EA or third-party trade secrets.”
According to Michael, this response EA gave doesn’t satisfy him as he thinks this is just EA finding loopholes from providing full disclosure to the public. EA then responded to Michael’s claims saying that “we take our responsibility to protect player’s data privacy very seriously, and it is absolutely our intent to provide choice and control over their information. EA takes great care to respond to data access requests like these in a timely manner and consistent with each players’ requests.”
Michael may not have gotten the exact specifics he wanted, but he did get information regarding his FIFA habits. Maybe this story will help bring to light some of the serious claims that video games can be addicting and people risk spending more money than they realize.
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