Brussels prosecutors launch investigation into EA over refusal to remove loot boxes

While Valve and Blizzard have complied with Belgium's anti-gambling laws and removed loots boxes from their games in that country, EA isn't being so cooperative. When it comes to FIFA 18, EA is keeping its randomized card packs in the game, and plans the same for FIFA 19 which releases at the end of September.

According to a machine translation of this article in Metro, the Brussels public prosecutor's office announced it is conducting a criminal investigation into EA for failure to comply. EA, meanwhile, doesn't feel it is in violation of the existing anti-gambling laws, because loot boxes, in its opinion, do not constitute gambling. 

"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, and secondly we don't provide or authorize any way to cash out or sell items or virtual currency for real money," Wilson said in an investor call back in May.

Belgium's Gaming Commission reviewed four games earlier this year, and determined FIFA 18 (and two others) contained loot boxes that contravened the country's gambling regulations.

Edit: I forgot to credit PCgamesN, which is where I saw this story. Sorry, folks.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.