Electronic Arts has finally conformed to the Belgian laws concerning loot boxes and gambling. Announced earlier today via EA’s official website, the company has made the decision that they will no longer be selling FIFA points in the country. This comes after about two years of Belgium investigating loot boxes and Electronic Arts. The first major investigation being with the atrocious loot boxes in Star Wars: Battlefront II, and then authorities began investigating EA for criminal charges after loot boxes began to be considered a form of gambling in the country.
With the removal of FIFA points, players will now only be able to earn in-game content through gameplay instead of being able to spend money on FIFA points for loot boxes. In the games’ Ultimate Team mode, players will no longer be able to purchase packs, but will still be able to use players they already have. If Belgian players still have FIFA points tied to their accounts, they will still be able to spend those points though they won’t have the option to buy more.
EA did apologize to players for the inconvenience, but wants “to bring choice, fairness, value and fun” to their games. FIFA points will be removed from the console and PC versions of the games by January 31, 2019. While the company is complying with Belgian laws they aren’t too 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.
The concern over loot boxes being a form of gambling has been a major issue over the past few years. While Belgium may have concrete laws concerning the issue, many other countries are still in debate over the controversy. In the United States, ESRB, the video game regulatory body, doesn’t consider loot boxes to be a form of gambling. However, early last year, Hawaiian legislators introduced bills concerning loot boxes. Then, late last year, the Federal Trade Commission began to investigate the issue as well.