EA Caves to Pressure from Belgium, Removes FIFA Loot Boxes
EA has finally relented to pressure from Belgium and has agreed to remove microtransactions and loot boxes from its FIFA soccer game. Belgium declared that the loot boxes in FIFA constituted illegal gambling under the country’s laws. However, EA initially resisted the Belgian government and remained committed to keeping loot boxes in game.
EA Agrees to Remove FIFA Loot Boxes
However, EA has finally buckled to pressure and agreed to remove the loot boxes. Belgian players will still be able to earn FIFA Points. These points can be used to unlock the game’s loot boxes, but players will no longer be able to purchase them. The FIFA loot boxes featured randomized in-game items, such as soccer players to build the gamer’s ultimate team.
Belgium announced its decision in May 2018. The gambling regulator in the European country decided that the paid loot box system in FIFA 18 constituted a game of chance. The report published in Belgium found that players would pay money for the chance to win the rarest and most desirable items in the game. The report recommended that several different games modified their loot boxes, or removed them, in order to comply with the country’s laws. Failure to do so could result in prosecution.
EA Initially Fights Belgium’s Findings
EA was advised to fix the loot boxes in FIFA to comply with Belgian law. However, the firm resisted and maintained that its microtransactions did not constitute gambling. For some time, it looked like EA would be taken to court and prosecuted for breaking Belgian gambling laws. However, it was recently announced that EA was not prepared to risk a court battle.
The gaming publisher announced that, following further discussions with Belgium, it decided to remove the sale of FIFA points. While EA has said it does not agree with Belgian authorities but will comply and seek further clarification. Many countries are still wrestling with the fact as to whether or not loot boxes are gambling.