Games News

EA presses on with loot boxes, Belgium may press criminal charges

AltChar
Loot box from Overwatch on the Belgian flag
Belgium, Loot Box

Out of several companies that received instructions to comply with Belgian regulations on predatory gambling practices in games, i.e. remove loot boxes, EA are the only company that ignored them, because FIFA discloses odds of winning.

Well for starters, at least now we know why EA have been tooting their own collective horn about voluntary disclosing of FIFA 19's Ultimate Team packs. FIFA's associate director Sam Rivera actually insists the decision was voluntary and had nothing to do with Belgium, despite ample evidence proving otherwise.

Belgian publication Metro now reports that the case is now jurisdiction of the state prosecutor's office, who will decide whether to press charges. If he does, EA will end up in court, risking much higher damages and even prison time. It is my understanding that if the prosecutor proves that EA have been peddling gambling to minors, all the fines and sentences can be doubled.

EA were warned to comply with state regulations along with 2K, Valve and Blizzard, all of whom ended up doing away with loot boxes. EA's Star Wars: Battlefront 2 was given a free pass because it had done so already - oh the irony. Time will tell who took the smart path.

Peculiarly, and I'm sure Rivera will agree it's one of those wild coincidences, the entire thing coincides with the sudden surge in FIFA 19 producers and directors discussing how disclosing Ultimate Team packs is what players want and deserve. Crazy how these things happen, right?

At the same time, FIFA 19's producer and creative director don't seem to be aware of Lingard and Zaha's tweeting about the game, which really says enough about the attention to detail at EA. We really hope that the detail they're betting on, which is disclosing Ultimate Team pack odds, won't come back to haunt them.

AltCharLoot box from Overwatch on the Belgian flagThe Netherlands

Having droned against loot boxes for some time now though, I couldn't care less for anyone who bets on these odds. Heck, you'd do better in FIFA 19. Okay, I'm stretching it a bit but you know what I mean - even if you know what you could've won, betting still looks like gambling to me.