Over the past year, there has been a massive controversy surrounding the existence of randomized loot boxes in video games. Whether or not loot boxes should be classified as gambling has been a hotly disputed topic, and in recent months certain types of loot boxes were made illegal in the Netherlands and Belgium. EA has decided this law doesn’t apply to them.
Following the ruling, Blizzard, Valve, and 2K Games all removed loot boxes from their games to avoid legal woes, and 2K put out a statement asking its fans to petition the government to allow loot boxes. EA decided to take a different route and just ignored the law altogether, keeping the banned loot boxes in FIFA 18. As a result, the Brussels public prosecutor’s office is now investigating EA and could take the matter to the courts.
Because Belgium now classifies randomized loot boxes as gambling, any games containing them must follow gambling restrictions. One of those restrictions would force EA and others to make their loot boxes totally inaccessible to minors, which is why they’ve been disabled altogether by the other companies. EA apparently thinks this is a battle they can win, so they’re standing firm.