A flourishing fad in online gaming has been the introduction of sweet, sweet loot boxes; because now, not only can you dunk on your rivals, you can do it in style. Laws in Belgium and the Netherlands, however, have caused EA to hit an international snag while rolling out FIFA Ultimate Team packs. According to Dutch law, the format of almost 40 percent of loot boxes found in games violates the Betting and Gaming Act and indicates that loot boxes could lead to addiction (I totally have never spent most of my paycheck on Overwatch loot boxes, what are you talking about).
EA has deep interest in getting FUT packs off the ground considering these types of online transactions found in other EA games have generated valuable revenue, with company growth of $1.25 billion during its last quarter (and that’s without even releasing a new game). These European countries, however, have expressed concern that loot boxes act similarly to a lottery, and in some cases, rewards can be traded for real world currency and have economic value, which is illegal without an operating license. Additionally, because FUT packs actually give you players to improve your team, this increases your chances of winning against others online and could be viewed as gambling. EA chief executive officer, Andrew Wilson, has stated that FUT packs do fall within the regulations because, “we don’t provide or authorize any way to cash out digital items or virtual currency for real-world money. And there’s no real-world value assigned to in-game items.”
We all know, however, the internet is a magical place riddled with loopholes. Just because something can’t be traded for real-world money doesn’t mean people won’t find a way to do it. EA has stated that they are fully aware of this and are working with “various regulators” to control such instances. As of now, Wilson has explained that EA is in the process of convincing policymakers in these countries that they are working within regulations, and are continuing plans to push on with FUT packs, “we’re always thinking about our players. We’re always thinking about how to deliver these types of experiences in a transparent, fun, fair, and balanced way for our players — and we’ll continue to work with regulators on that.”