Pro Club mode under fire for problematic content
Electronic Arts is working on new technology with which it hopes to tackle the problem of racism and other toxic behaviors within its globally popular soccer sim, FIFA 21. The publisher announced it is investigating new measures to reduce problematic behavior in-game in response to an online investigation conducted by Eurogamer.
Eurogamer found that one of the core problems with FIFA 21 relates to the title’s Pro Clubs mode – a sort of “Fantasy Football” league which allows players to create their own which allows players to create their own individual footballers and clubs with which to compete in online leagues and tournaments. Players have used this mode in order to name their team members and clubs with racist or homophobic slurs, or direct references to far-right groups.
Despite the Pro Clubs feature being around for well over a decade, it seems that the problem remains not only prominent, but happen with very regular occurrence. EA told Eurogamer that it works to eradicate racism and toxic behavior in FIFA, noting that it had banned over 9,000 accounts and issued 35,000 warnings since FIFA 21‘s launch in October of last year. Furthermore, EA says that it is working on implementing new technology with hopes of further reducing the toxicity within Pro Clubs, as well as in FIFA 21 in general.
“Under our Positive Play Charter, our teams are focused on improving in-game reporting and moderation tools, along with a players’ ability to report any offensive content at ea.com/report,” EA told Eurogamer. “This helps ensure that when people don’t play by the rules, there are easily accessible channels to report problem players or inappropriate content.”
“We take all reports seriously and regularly action against our findings […] We’re committed to continuously advancing our tools and solutions to address new challenges, including more intelligent monitoring and migration technology that will be released in the coming months.”
FIFA is not the only video game brand combating racist user-created content, with almost every title/platform that allows user-uploaded material facing a battle against toxic content on a daily basis. In regards to gaming, this issue stems as far back as the medium’s formative years, when arcade developers would add filters to high-score tables in order to prevent swears and slurs. It’s an indictment that, decades later, these problems remain – both in gaming and, sadly, in the world at large.