EA won't remove FIFA 19 microtransactions in Belgium (update)

Updated January 28, 2019: EA will stop selling microtransactions bundles in FIFA 19 in Belgium. Considering that executives could've faced jail time if they didn't comply, this seems like the right move.

In April 2018, Belgium banned loot boxes from video games by ruling that they were a form of gambling. While many publishers complied with this decision and removed the ability to purchase them using actual currency, EA is taking a stand with FIFA 19. According to The Daily Telegraph, companies that fail to comply could face fines of up to €800,000 or five years in prison for those involved in the decision.

Related: Loot boxes in games suck, but so does government regulation

You may remember EA as the company that triggered this whole debate in the first place with its egregious pay-to-win microtransactions in Star Wars Battlefront II. Instead of finding a better model, EA head Andrew Wilson said, "We don't believe that FIFA Ultimate Team or loot boxes are gambling firstly because players always receive a specified number of items in each pack. Secondly we don't provide or authorize any way to cash out or sell items or virtual currency for real money." They'll be part of FIFA 19 even in Belgium.

EA is using a very strict definition of gambling, and it's unclear if this will make its way to court. However, the fact that the publisher is refusing to remove them from FIFA 19 and wants to challenge the Belgian Gambling Commission's decision is going to cause legal problems for its gaming ambitions in the country to say the least. We'll keep you posted.

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Asher Madan

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.

  • They'll just pay the €800,000 and move on. So many things are criminal for the poor.
  • You're kidding.... right?
  • 😂
  • I hope they end up in jail. EA is the worst. Their predatory sales tactics and flagrant disregard for both consumer and employee welfare is both widely known and well documented. I haven't bought an EA game since they released Origin and made all of their games exclusive to the Origin Store; this is just one more reason to maintain the boycott.
  • So they should release all their games on Steam and pay their 30% per purchase transaction just because you like Steam?
  • Maybe you should boycott Bethesda from now on then...
  • Gone are those days when these annoying microtransactions weren't part of the games.
  • The game costs ~£50 in the UK. Any game that costs that much should NEVER have any additional payments, ever. That amount of money should get the whole experience, nothing less. You don't buy a film and then have to pay more to see the ending
  • The only way to stop this is to stop buying games with microtransactions.
  • Or stop buying the micro transactions!!!
  • Well not really, because it would be naive to think that a game made with microtransactions was not made annoying so as to make people spend cash.
    Grinding is added to annoy people. I would just try and boycott them altogether. Hit them financially.
  • It's been 20 years that PES is better.
  • Regardless of EA tactics are the Belgians going after all the mobile phone games?
    Probably would be best to go at Google / Apple / MS to ban games with loot boxes on their stores...then we would all have parity with the Windows Phone store and the Lumia 950 can come back and win :)
  • Let the past die. The Windows Phone is not coming back.
  • EA are an absolute cancer within the gaming industry. Their AAA games are both overpriced (bundled with additional microtransactions) and complete trash compared to the offerings of honest developers/publishers like CD Projekt Red and Paradox Interactive. They stifle the creative output of their own studios, case in point with Mass Effect: Andromeda. It's all about nothing other than making a fast buck with the least possible effort. I don't like to wish anyone out of a job but if EA went bust tomorrow I can guarantee there will be more cheers than tears.