Remember back in 2018 when Belgium cracked down on gambleboxes in video games, zeroing in on Overwatch, FIFA 18, and CSGO and ordering them to come into compliance with its gambling laws or face prison and fines? Blizzard and Valve dragged their feet and complained a bit, but they did it, ultimately ending lockboxes purchases for players in the region. Multiple developers who’d not been directly threatened also moved to comply with the law, including one squarely in our genre: ArenaNet.
But EA didn’t appear to take any action over the course of the next six months, so Belgium moved to make good on its threat, as the public prosecutor’s office in Brussels began working on a criminal investigation of EA over the situation. It seemed as if EA was preparing to fight. But then it blinked. Just a few weeks after that, it promised to “begin displaying pack probabilities” in FIFA (pretty much like transparent lockboxes).
Now it’s gone further. As GIbiz reports, the company says it will cease the sale of FIFA Points in Belgium altogether. Apparently, players will be able to continue earning points through playing the game, but they can’t buy them to swap for lockboxes.
“While we are taking this action, we do not agree with Belgian authorities’ interpretation of the law, and we will continue to seek more clarity on the matter as we go forward,” EA stated. “The impact of this change to FIFA Ultimate Team in Belgium is not material to our financial performance.”
MMO players will recall that Blizzard made a similar statement when bowing to the law in regard for Overwatch. Without the shade for Belgium, though.