As you may or may not have heard, Belgium declared loot boxes in video games a form of gambling earlier this year. Basically, if a game allows players to spend real money on randomised in-game items, then it has to be categorised as gambling and highlighted as such.
However, unlike other publishers, EA apparently hasn’t altered its in-game purchases in Belgium, and now it could be in trouble with Belgian authorities. Ultimate Team card packs in the FIFA games haven’t been adjusted to comply with Belgium’s laws, and so EA is reportedly under criminal investigation. If the Brussels public prosecutor’s office decides to press the issue, it’ll be taken to court.
Earlier in the year, EA CEO Andrew Wilson outlined why the company believes that FIFA’s card packs aren’t a form of gambling, pointing out that “players always receive a specified number of items in each pack”, and saying that the system doesn’t “provide or authorise any way to cash out or sell items or virtual currency for real money”.
We have our doubts that anything especially noteworthy will occur because of this, but it’s an interesting situation all the same.