Activision-Blizzard and Valve may have cooperated with European nations’ lockbox demands, but apparently EA won’t be playing ball.
You’ll recall that at the end of last year, Belgium’s and The Netherlands’ gaming regulatory bodies began in-depth investigations into the mechanics and effects of gaming lockboxes of all stripes; ultimately, Belgium’s report, endorsed by the country’s Ministry of Justice, found lockboxes in specific games – Overwatch, FIFA 18, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive – violate its laws in regard to lockbox gambling. All three games and their respective companies were threatened with prison time and fines if they didn’t comply with the law.
Valve and Blizzard have both done so, shutting down lockboxes purchases for players in affected regions – Overwatch was updated just a few weeks ago, in fact. But as RPS noted last night, multiple Dutch newspapers are reporting that EA has not complied and continues to sell lockboxes in FIFA via its – I’ll quote RPS here – “notoriously exploitative” card-collecting mechanics. One paper, Metro, noted that the public prosecutor’s office in Brussels is working on a criminal investigation of EA over the situation.
Worth pointing out is that even at the height of the lockbox outrage last year, EA persisted in claiming that Star Wars Battlefront 2’s lootcrates “are not gambling,” so it’s not a huge surprise that the company has dragged its feet here and might just be willing to face down an expensive court battle to fight for its right to lockbox its players.