The controversy surrounding loot boxes escalated last year when numerous governments launched investigations into their relation to gambling. New legislation was passed in Belgium prohibiting the sale of loot boxes without a gambling license, and most companies were quick to get in line. EA, however, refused to remove loot boxes from FIFA 18.
This prompted the Brussels public prosecutor’s office to launch an investigation, and EA was threatened with the prospect of being dragged to court. EA appeared willing to fight the charges back in September, but they’ve since had a change of heart. After further discussion with government officials, EA has agreed to bring all of their games in line with the new policy by January 31st.
After the changes, players will no longer be able to use real money to buy the in-game currency, FIFA points, used to play for loot boxes. Players can still earn the types of rewards that were available in loot boxes, but there will be no more exchanging of currency for randomized rewards.
Although they are now preparing to follow the law, EA still holds that they have done nothing wrong. They issued a statement apologizing to fans for any inconvenience caused by the removal of loot boxes and asserted “We do not agree with Belgian authorities’ interpretation of the law, and we will continue to seek more clarity on the matter as we go forward.”
Source: Electronic Arts