Home Gaming EA concedes, removes sale of FIFA loot boxes in Belgium

EA concedes, removes sale of FIFA loot boxes in Belgium

2 min read
15
FIFAloot

In late 2017, The Belgian Gaming Commission decided that video game loot boxes were akin to gambling, and sought to have them banned. “The mixing of money and addiction is gambling,” said the commission, adding that its implementation in games was dangerous for the mental health of children. In August last year, Blizzard removed Overwatch’s loot boxes from sale in the country, presumably to stay ahead of the law.

EA, however, was defiant – and ended up under criminal investigation in the country for its refusal to remove those gambling elements from FIFA.

“If there is a game of chance, it is not possible without a permit from the Gaming Commission,” said Belgian Gaming Commission director Peter Naessen, adding that “Games of chance cannot be compared to any other kind of economic services. They may cause people to become addicted to gambling and cause them to lose a great deal of money.”

Now it appears that EA has conceded, and will be removing the ability for FIFA players to spend real money on the points used to buy FIFA Ultimate Team packs. The packs are essentially lucky packets, with random cards in them, and that, Belgium says, is gambling. Says EA:

“After further discussions with the Belgian authorities, we have decided to stop offering FIFA Points for sale in Belgium. We’re working to make these changes effective in our FIFA console and PC games by January 31, 2019. This means that players in Belgium will not be able to purchase points to obtain FIFA Ultimate Team packs. Players still can access Ultimate Team and play with their existing players. All content in the game can be earned through gameplay, as has always been the case, and players can continue to use coins and the in-game transfer market. Any players in Belgium that have existing FIFA Points in their accounts can continue to use them, but they will not be able to purchase more. We apologize to our players in Belgium for any inconvenience caused by this change.”

Players will still be able to earn the packs in-game, they just won’t be able to spend any money on those blind packs. While EA is conceding, they’re not especially happy about it.

“While we are taking this action, we do not agree with Belgian authorities’ interpretation of the law, and we will continue to seek more clarity on the matter as we go forward.”

EA also adds that the change isn’t “material to our financial performance,” but I bet that if other European territories start clamping down on this stuff, it may very well become that way.

Last Updated: January 30, 2019

15 Comments

  1. GooseZA

    January 30, 2019 at 08:46

    Good. I don’t mind cosmetic MT’s where you get the exact item you want when you pay for it, but paying to have a chance to get something is nonsense (and is totally gambling).

    Hopefully other countries follow suit and we can get rid of real-money lootboxes for good.

    Reply

  2. Jonah Cash

    January 30, 2019 at 10:35

    “All content in the game can be earned through gameplay”… I buy and play Fifa FUT every year since 2013 and I promise you that I have probably not earned enough in game money to buy either Ronaldo or Messi even if I add all 6 years together! You won’t get over 1 000 000 coins by just playing the game… Unless that is all you do! So EA I call bullshit on the above sentence

    Reply

    • Pariah

      January 30, 2019 at 13:01

      Well, *technically* you *can*, it’s just highly highly improbable, and mostly unreasonable. But technically, you can. So their statement isn’t false. Just misleading. Typical EA.

      Reply

  3. cloudzn

    January 30, 2019 at 07:40

    Lootboxes and microtransactions have no place in a full priced game, no reasoning can defend this

    Reply

    • Pariah

      January 30, 2019 at 08:06

      Honestly I don’t mind cosmetic mtx, as long as it’s priced well (so NOT EA-level pricing), isn’t in your face at all times (Shadow of War) and isn’t locked behind a loot box.

      And let me add – if they can also be earned in-game then by all means, let lazy people waste their money. It keeps the devs employed because the publishers’ investors are happy.

      Reply

      • Guz

        January 30, 2019 at 09:26

        That’s the thing that peeves me the most, if something is locked behind a pay wall with no other option to earn/get it

        Reply

    • Gavin Mannion

      January 30, 2019 at 09:01

      I still say for purely cosmetic items I have no problem against this. It’s all good and well claiming you paid full price but I paid my R1000 for Overwatch 2 years ago and still expect new content and working servers to this day.

      Blizzard need to get a constant income somehow from the game else it would not be sustainable and I’d rather cosmetic loot boxes than paid for DLC

      Reply

      • cloudzn

        February 4, 2019 at 12:28

        If the game is F2P, like Star Trek online then I happily pay real money to buy things ingame but don’t expect me to buy Sharkcards because Rockstar turned GTA Online into a grind fest BTW Activision makes Billions in $ from MTX revenue alone more then actually game sales so it just fuels the greedy, like the Reticle nonsense in BO4

        Reply

      • cloudzn

        February 4, 2019 at 12:28

        If the game is F2P, like Star Trek online then I happily pay real money to buy things ingame but don’t expect me to buy Sharkcards because Rockstar turned GTA Online into a grind fest BTW Activision makes Billions in $ from MTX revenue alone more then actually game sales so it just fuels the greedy, like the Reticle nonsense in BO4

        Reply

  4. Guz

    January 30, 2019 at 09:21

    Good! That’s all I have to say on the matter

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Check Also

FIFA and EA Split? How Did it Happen and What Now for the Future of the Franchise?

In life, there are many staples, peanut butter and jam, bread and a toaster, and in gaming…