Brussel starts an investigation regarding EA loot boxes
FIFA card packs is a violation of Belgian anti-gambling laws
After Belgium has released its anti-gambling laws to ban loot boxes and other in-game “packs” or “airdrops” a lot of game publishers were under the commission's radar. This year, Brussels Gaming Commission has already reviewed 4 games and found out that three of them contain loot boxes which are prohibited by country’s regulations. Those games were: Star Wars: Battlefront 2, Overwatch, FIFA 18, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Blizzard and Valve have adjusted their products for this region and were allowed to release their games. However, EA games developers were stubborn and refuse to take off the card packs from FIFA 2018 and FIFA 2019, which is going to be released in the end of September. As Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson said:
"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, and secondly we don't provide or authorize any way to cash out or sell items or virtual currency for real money,"
In response to EA’s actions, Brussels Gaming Commission has announced that they are conducting a criminal investigation.
The Gambling Commission declared that the loot boxes must be removed. "If that does not happen, the operators risk a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to €800,000". They have also mentioned, that the punishment can be doubled when the minors are involved. The punishment seems rough, but everyone knows it will never be truly prosecuted. But as a gamer myself, watching all my favourite games falling into hands of EA, I remain an optimistic dreamer.
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