EA to appeal massive fine selling FIFA loot boxes

Electronic Arts (EA) plan to appeal a recent decision by the Dutch government, which could result in the company paying millions of Euros in fines.

While EA have become a high profile target, the issue of in-game loot boxes has been a point of concern within the gaming community for some time.

FIFA loot box fine: What we know

Why could EA be fined?

The Dutch government have targeted EA’s FIFA franchise deciding that for FIFA 19, FIFA 20 and FIFA 21 the company would need to change its implementation of the loot boxes in the form of player packs for the FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) game mode.

The FUT game mode is probably the most popular game mode in FIFA. It allows players to create teams with their favourite players in it from player cards they can acquire with in-game, currency, from in-game activities and by purchasing packs of random players with real money.

This last part is where the Dutch government has taken issue with EA. They feel that the way the player packs have been implemented breaches the country’s gambling laws, which have outlawed loot boxes since 2018.

“We’re disappointed by today’s decision, and the possible impact of it on Dutch players. We do not agree that our products and services are in conflict with the local gambling laws”.

EA Benelux division to appeal

The EA Benelux division in response to the potential fine said that they “appeal against this decision and try to prevent a situation that impacts the full possibilities of Dutch players in FIFA Ultimate Team”.

“Electronic Arts attaches great importance to a positive playing experience: we strive to give all players choice, honesty, value, and pleasure in our games. We’re still open to take part in talks with the Netherlands Gambling Authority and other stakeholders to solve and understand their concerns.”

Besides the legal problems that these loot boxes have caused for EA, many have asked about the ethics of the FUT game mode.

FIFA Ultimate Team game mode revenue

While it’s hard to get an estimate of how much money they make on the FIFA Ultimate Team game mode, they reported R1.49 billion in revenue from in-game digital sales in the 2020 financial year from ultimate team sales in Madden Football and FIFA combined.

That’s $1.49 billion in just online sales, before you consider whatever revenue they made from actual game sales and advertising revenue from the multiple brands splashed across the various game modes.

It will be interesting to see what comes of EA’s appeal and whether more countries will follow the Netherland’s lead and start taking action against potentially exploitative game mechanics.

Also read: New Far Cry 6 delayed, possible release date set for 2021

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