German federal parliament have passed the amendment today, ensuring that all online games or other applications that use loot boxes will have to be classified with an age rating of 18 or older.
EA, Activision and other major publishers who strongly focus on offering in-game purchases will certainly be upset with the latest news from Germany regarding loot boxes. According to a report in Spiegel, The Bundestag (German federal parliament), have passed the amendment today, ensuring that every game or other application that features loot boxes or similar in-game offerings will likely be classified with an age rating of 18 or even older.
Spiegel report that the government wants to ensure that children do not come into contact with incentives to buy loot boxes or other in-game items with this reform of the Youth Protection Act.
As expected, this reform will not only affect future releases but also games that are already released and classified as harmless. FIFA 21 is one of the examples. EA's football simulation is currently approved by the Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body without age restriction.
But since the game features the mega-popular mode named "Ultimate Team" which features in-game purchases in form of card sets, it could soon get slapped with an 18+ rating, which would certainly be a major problem for EA.
Additionally, if the publisher want to get a lower age rating for their game, loot boxes or any other in-game purchases would have to be disabled by default but it's hard to expect that move from EA, who have see massive revenue increase thanks to the Ultimate Team mode.
You can check out Spiegel's report here.