- EA defends itself against a Lootbox court ruling in the Netherlands
- The publisher faces a fine of up to 10 million euros
- It’s about packs of cards in FIFA 21
Electronic Arts wants to defend itself against a court ruling in the Netherlands on the subject of loot boxes.
In mid-October 2020 a court in The Hague authorized the Dutch gaming authority KSA (Kansspelautoriteit) to impose a fine of 10 million euros on the publisher.
Following this decision, which was made on October 15, 2020, Electronic Arts had three weeks to make changes in FIFA 19, FIFA 20 and FIFA 21 in the Netherlands. If that does not happen, EA has to pay a fine of 500,000 euros per week – up to a maximum of 10 million euros.
The Dutch gambling authority has declared loot boxes illegal because they are viewed as gambling and EA does not have a corresponding license for it.
In FIFA, for example, players can spend real money on card packages, the content of which is determined by chance. There have been allegations about this pay-to-win structure for years.
Before FIFA 21 was released, EA came under fire for promoting microtransactions in a toy catalog.
According to analyst Piers Harding-Rolls, FIFA brings the publisher an annual turnover of around 2 billion dollars, the majority of which is achieved through sales in Ultimate Team mode.
Netherlands & Belgium clampdown on loot boxes in games has seen multiple games remove them in these markets. EA already stopped paid for FUT player packs in Belgium
Not ideal for EA. I estimate the FIFA game franchise is a bn annual business, a majority coming from FUT sales https://t.co/D4FYw16Cro
– Piers Harding-Rolls (@PiersHR) October 29, 2020
In 2018, a study by the KSA had previously shown that there may be a connection between playing with loot boxes and the development of a gambling addiction. As a result, several companies had stopped making changes to games, but Electronic Arts didn’t.
“Players all over the world have enjoyed FIFA and the FIFA Ultimate Team mode for many years, and we are therefore disappointed with this decision and what it could mean for our Dutch community,” the publisher said in a statement compared to Eurogamer with. “We do not believe that our products and services violate gambling laws in any way. We are appealing this decision and trying to avoid a situation that would affect the ability of Dutch players to fully experience FIFA Ultimate Team and enjoy. “
“Electronic Arts is deeply committed to positive gaming. We try to provide all of our players with choice, fairness, value and fun in all of our games. We remain open to discussions with the Dutch Gambling Authority and other stakeholders to resolve any concerns understand and explore. “
In January 2019, the publisher stopped selling FIFA Points in Belgium under pressure from the government. Previously, in September 2018, the local gaming authority had declared loot boxes in FIFA 18, Overwatch and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive as a game of chance. As a result, Blizzard, Valve and 2K Games made changes to their games, EA did not until January 2019.
There has not yet been a uniform European decision on this topic, only in individual countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands have loot boxes been considered a game of chance. For this reason, a lawsuit was recently filed against EA in Canada.
Source : Twitter Feeds