EA Refuses To Comply With Belgium’s Gambling Laws, Under Criminal Investigation
Thanks to the epic fiasco surrounding Star Wars Battlefront 2′s loot boxes, governments around the world seem to be tightening their grip on how microtransactions are handled in the games. Earlier this year, the Belgian government declared certain loot boxes to be gambling, causing big names like 2K Games, Valve and Activision Blizzard to remove loot boxes from their titles in the country.
However, EA plans to stand its ground, refusing to remove loot boxes from one of their most popular games, FIFA. In April, the publisher said, “We strongly believe that our games are developed and implemented ethically and lawfully around the world, and take these responsibilities very seriously. We care deeply that our players are having a fun and fair experience in all of our games, and take great care to ensure each game is marketed responsibly, including in compliance with regional ratings standards. We welcome the dialogue with Minister Geens on these topics, as we do not agree that our games can be considered as any form of gambling.”
Additionally, EA also states that the loot boxes in FIFA 18 cannot be considered as gambling because the players always receive specified number of items, and the publisher doesn’t authorize any way to cash out or sell any item or virtual currency in return for real money.
Belgium’s Gaming Commission considers these loot boxes as a form of gambling as the players do not know which items they are going to receive when they purchase a loot box, making it an illegal game of chance. Hence, EA may now be facing a criminal investigation, under the Brussel’s public prosecutor’s office. If proved that they’ve been involved in perpetuating gambling among the community (including minors), the company will be liable to pay a hefty penalty.
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