EA risking prosecution after refusing to comply with Belgian loot box laws

Gerald Bowen
September 12, 2018

A hot potato: Following the loot box controversy that was ignited by Star Wars Battlefront 2 late a year ago, several countries and states began investigating whether these systems were a form of gambling. However, one of the other major companies under the loot box microscope, EA, has supposedly drawn a line in the sand. Fortunately, EA was already amidst its own rework of Battlefront II after listening to fan backlash, removing the purchasable progression-tied loot box system, however Federation Internationale de Football Association 18 and upcoming Federation Internationale de Football Association 19 packs remained untouched in the region despite breaking the new laws.

Over the last couple of months, several big gaming publishers, namely Valve, Blizzard and 2K Games, have all given up a substantial amount of income in online transactions from both Belgian and Dutch players.

Video game publisher Electronic Arts is reportedly under threat of prosecution in Belgium after refusing to remove "loot boxes" from its FIFA football series.

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EA seems to be standing firm over its implementation of loot boxes, which were banned in Belgium back in April after the Belgian Gaming Commission found them to be "games of chance", and therefore gambling. That's "firstly because players always receive a specified number of items in each pack, and secondly we don't provide or authorize any way to cash out or sell items or virtual currency for real money", Wilson said.

This still doesn't fly with the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC), as it has now filed a case against EA with the Brussels Public Prosecutor's Office.

Federation Internationale de Football Association 18 and 19 are the specific titles cited here, with the Ultimate Team mode's randomized card packs as the specific loot box mechanic being targeted.

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