After four months of tension, EA is agreeing to tone down on selling loot boxes in Belgium. Belgian players of FIFA 18 and FIFA 19 will soon be unable to purchase FIFA Points, which are used to buy card packs for FIFA Ultimate Team.
This news represents the latest in a series of stories involving the Belgian Gambling Commission's decision on loot boxes. In April 2018, the Commission looked at four games (Overwatch, FIFA 18, Star Wars: Battlefront 2, and Counter-strike: Global Offensive) and deemed only Star Wars to not violate the country's gambling laws. Star Wars only got by because loot boxes were pulled after the pre-launch controversy. Following the ruling, Blizzard, Valve, and 2K Games removed loot box systems from the Belgian versions of their games. However, EA didn't make any changes to their FIFA games. This prompted the BGC to prepare to bring EA to court.
However, EA is backing down. According to Eurogamer, they are going to stop selling FIFA Points in their Belgian games. FIFA points are used in FIFA 18 and FIFA 19's FIFA Ultimate Team mode to buy card packs. No other features in that mode will be impacted, meaning there'll still be the loot boxes, they just won't be purchasable for money.
EA released an official statement announcing the change, which takes effect January 31. In addition to announcing the changes, they spoke about their stance on Belgium's decision:
We seek to bring choice, fairness, value and fun to our players in all our games. In addition to providing players options in how they play, we include pack probabilities in our games for the transparency players want to make informed content choices. While we are taking this action, we do not agree with Belgian authorities’ interpretation of the law, and we will continue to seek more clarity on the matter as we go forward. The impact of this change to FIFA Ultimate Team in Belgium is not material to our financial performance.EA states that the change won't impact their financial performance.
What do you think of EA's decision to remove FIFA Points in Belgium? Do you think loot boxes are gambling? Let us know in the comments below!