FIFA loot boxes
(EA)

I’ve always hated microtransactions and game modes that revolve around spending real-life money to gain a very temporary edge against people who don’t pay money. When I was reviewing Madden 21, Ultimate Team spoiled the score. Recently, a Dutch judge ruled that FIFA loot boxes are in violation of gambling laws and that EA will be fined €250,000, and their Swiss subsidiary (responsible for the sale of FIFA) will be fined €250,000 each week if EA does not remove loot boxes entirely in three weeks.

Now, this is massive in the war against microtransactions. I’ve said that Ultimate Team makes games like Madden and FIFA more like a casino than a family-friendly video game, and their ratings should reflect that. Ultimate Team packs and loot boxes are nothing more than a slot machine where it is impossible to win and cash out. Whatever you do win, you can’t cash out because your money is stuck in the game. Any card you do get that holds any amount of value will become worthless in a couple of weeks and will ultimately cease to exist in less than a year.

Obviously, EA was not very happy with this ruling. They said the following in this statement that was provided to Video Games Chronicle:

Players all over the world have enjoyed FIFA and the FIFA Ultimate Team mode for many years and as such, we are disappointed by this decision and what it may mean for our Dutch community. We do not believe that our products and services violate gambling laws in any way. We are appealing this decision and we seek to avoid a situation impacting the ability of Dutch players to fully experience and enjoy FIFA Ultimate Team. Electronic Arts is deeply committed to positive play.  We seek to bring choice, fairness, value and fun to all our players in all of our games.  We remain open to discussions with the Netherlands Gambling Authority and other stakeholders to understand and explore solutions to address any concerns.

Electronic Arts have been under fire for years concerning the microtransactions in their games. This ruling on FIFA loot boxes is only the beginning of this legal battle.

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