EA under Criminal Investigation by Belgium Government over Illegal FIFA Lootboxes


Niewusblad reports that EA is now under investigation by the Brussels public prosecutor's office as requested by the Belgian Gaming Commission for this refusal to remove paid loot boxes from products. The randomized card packs in Federation Internationale de Football Association 18's Ultimate Team mode are still available, and they'll be present in Federation Internationale de Football Association 19, which launches at the end of this month.

This may be the start of a legal battle in court for publisher EA and the Belgian authorities.

While companies like Valve and 2K Games have already complied, EA apparently has not. Ultimate Team card packs in the Federation Internationale de Football Association games haven't been adjusted to comply with Belgium's laws, and so EA is reportedly under criminal investigation. Earlier this year, the Belgian Gaming Commission decided many forms of loot boxes in video games are illegal gambling because players don't exactly know what virtual items they're getting when they buy them.

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A hot potato: Following the loot box controversy that was ignited by Star Wars Battlefront 2 late previous year, several countries and states began investigating whether these systems were a form of gambling. The company's CEO, Andrew Wilson, disagrees with the view that Federation Internationale de Football Association contains any form of gambling, stating that "players always receive a specified number of items in each pack" and that it doesn't "provide or authorise any way to cash out or sell items or virtual currency for real money". Players can get items in loot boxes either by paying or through game play.

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.