EA today announced they will comply with Belgium law and remove microtransactions from FIFA games in the country.
Last May, Belgium ruled that loot box based microtransactions were indeed gambling , and, therefore, games that contained them were breaking the law. The Belgium Gaming Commission specifically mentioned three games in their final report; FIFA 18, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Overwatch. While publishers have reluctatly taken loot boxed based microtransactions out of their games, EA steadfastly refused. Despite facing criminal prosecution, EA CEO Andrew Wilson argued that FIFA Ultimate Team fell within the regulations. Nearly a year since Mr. Wilson took that stance, EA is relenting.
In a short statement, EA announced that, starting January 31, FIFA Points will be removed from all FIFA titles. While FIFA Ultimate Team stays, players in Belgium can’t buy the game’s loot boxes with real-world money. EA continues to disagree with the ruling, but intends to comply with the law. It remains unknown if EA will alter the in-game economy to make it easier for Belgium players to get Ultimate Team packs.
Today marks the latest drama in the ongoing Loot Box saga that EA kicked into overdrive following the launch of Star Wars Battlefront II. Since that debacle, most major game publishers have moved away from the idea of the Loot Box. Instead, they charge up front for items players want. However, some games, such as Overwatch and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, still implement a version of the Loot Box.