FIFA 21 packs are confirmed to be a form of gambling by the Netherlands. EA faces up to 5 million euros in fines if they continue to violate the country’s laws.
Over the past few years, government pushback against loot boxes has really started to increase. EA Sports and its FIFA franchise have been one of the games many countries around the world have been looking at. In fact, Belgium and the Netherlands have both banned loot boxes because of how they violate those countries’ gambling laws. Now, the Netherlands has upheld its original ruling and will be fining EA for up to 5 million euros.
This is, as you might expect, pretty big news for the FIFA community. Loot boxes in the form of packs are the main money-maker for Ultimate Team and, as more countries come out with bans, the mode could be forced to change. Hopefully, the changes benefit the consumer, but it’s hard to see that being the case given how much money EA makes off of packs.
I will fully admit that I don’t have any idea what the answer to the loot box problem is. Obviously, if EA only gives out packs as a reward for gameplay, that takes away the gambling aspect. However, it also makes it much tougher for new or bad players to jump into the game. That said, EA started incorporating season passes for FUT over the last two years. Those could alleviate that problem to some degree.
Regardless of any changes EA might make, this is a big step for the future of Ultimate Team like modes. If more European countries continue to regulate loot boxes, the genre could be in for some massive changes over the coming years. No matter what, it’s clear that this is a story worth paying attention to. Especially, if you play any game with randomized microtransactions.
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