July 6, 2022

EA being investigated for illegal loot boxes

The saga of the loot boxes and whether they are gambling or not continues.  Previously we had advised that Blizzard will be removing them from Overwatch for Belgium players.  Now it’s EA’s turn to make the headlines again.

The ever popular EA game FIFA 18 was one of the games indicated in the Belgium Gaming Commissions decision that loot boxes were gambling.  FIFA 18 along with a number of other games was determine to be in violation of Belgium’s gaming laws.  The companies were given 8 weeks to comply with the law.  The head of EA, Andrew Wilson has previously stated; “We don’t believe that FIFA Ultimate Team or loot boxes are gambling firstly because players always receive a specified number of items in each pack. Secondly we don’t provide or authorize any way to cash out or sell items or virtual currency for real money.”

Unlike the other companies mentioned in the violation notice, EA has decided to not comply with the ruling.  They have refused to remove the loot boxes.  As the deadline to make changes has passed, this week the Belgium Gaming Commission has forwarded the issue to the Belgium Prosecutor’s office, where it will be determined if criminal charges should be laid.

What does this mean for EA?   If charges are brought against them they could face fines upwards of €800,000 and/or up to 5 years in jail.  This is definitely a story to keep an eye on.  It may only be Belgium now but depending on the outcome we might just see changes across the world.

What do you think, is EA right to hold it’s ground on the issue?  Do you think we’ll see a day, again, when loot boxes and micro-transactions will not be a part of gaming?  Let us know what you think in the comments below.


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