New French lawsuits accuse EA’s FIFA franchise of promoting illegal gambling

    
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None of the FIFA titles is a pure MMO, of course, but every MMO player interested in how monetization across the industry is being shaped will recall how legal cases around the game keep poking their way into our narrative, from that time when the FBI caught FIFA hackers making millions to the time when dudes running an illegal gambling ring using FIFA currency were busted under the UK’s gambling act. And who can forget when Belgium threatened multiple game companies with criminal investigations over their noncompliance with Belgium’s gambling laws in regard to lootboxes?

Yes, this is a lootbox piece. Though some companies, like Square-Enix and Blizzard, did eventually comply with Belgium’s law, others, like EA, dragged their feet, and countries across Europe continue skirmishes over this particular type of monetization. As Kotaku reported yesterday, new lawsuits have now been filed in France specifically accusing EA’s FIFA franchise of hosting illegal gambling within the game in its “Ultimate Team” mode.

Lawyers representing the suit argue that paying to gamble for card packs for players determines whether or not you can win in the mode. At least one of the plaintiffs apparently spent €600 trying to get key players – the grossest type of pay-to-win around.

“In this game, everyone wants to have a dream team to go as far as possible. My client spent €600 in five months without ever getting a big player. The developers of this game mode have created an illusionary and particularly addictive system. The more you pay, the more you have the possibility of getting big players. We believe that a gambling game has been integrated into this video game because buying packs is nothing more than a bet. It is the logic of a casino that has entered their homes. Today, an 11 or 12-year-old teenager can, without any restriction, play FUT and commit money because there is no parental control system in this mode. Belgium and the Netherlands have already taken up this issue.”

Interestingly, as L’Équipe notes, the suits also seek data on the specific algorithm that determines how those cards are dispensed.

Source: L’Équipe via GFFN via Kotaku
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Techno Wizard
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Techno Wizard

How long before everything in games is “illegal gambling”?

This is why the authorities should not be allowed to rob, I mean, fine game companies for gambling reasons. It’s up to parents to supervise their brats, I mean their offspring’s, spending habits outside of the game and Internet usage in general, and not a nanny state using any reason they can to control game playing adults. And if you are an adult with a gambling problem I implore you to seek help. Otherwise you only have yourself to blame. A nanny state should not make it difficult for the rest of us because of your addiction. Thanks for that.

Also the game industry should be self regulating to reduce state robbery temptation and power abuse, i.e. fines.

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Blazing Coconut

Too obvious for a really good Troll. 3/10.

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Arktouros

Belgium says all of this is gambling because all the results are desirable and therefore have real world value as a desirable item. Netherlands on the other hand says things only have real world value if you can resell the items (for example the “Skinconomy” for CSGO). So selling FIFA packs is perfectly legal in Netherlands because you can’t resell the players for money and something EA could point out.

If EA was smart on this would they would break down the math. I’m not too familiar with the game, but a few google searches shows 600 euros is around 72,500 FIFA points which would be roughly 28 “Ultimate” packs which appear to have players rated 82+ (on a scale that appears to be 45-90+). I am not sure if there’s scaling past that, but I wager they could make a good argument that someone who spent 600 euros and got 28 players who are on the top end of the score scale that they could definitely be able to get wins in the mode even without getting one of the “big players.”

They really should be taking these kinds of things up at their federal level. My prediction on this one is going to be the usual commentary on what a scummy, shitty business model it is but legally speaking technically isn’t gambling. But who knows? It’s France.