Back in September last year the Belgian Gambling Commission started a pre-trial investigation of loot boxes in FIFA 19 following a crackdown of loot boxes in general across video games, and despite EA's CEO Andrew Wilson saying he doesn't believe that "FIFA Ultimate Team or loot boxes are gambling", a new post on EA's site reveals big changes for Belgian players.
"After further discussions with the Belgian authorities, we have decided to stop offering FIFA Points for sale in Belgium," the post reads, with these changes coming into the game by Thursday, January 31. As expected, this means you can't buy points to get Ultimate Team packs, although existing Ultimate Team players can be used and more earned via gameplay. Coins and the in-game transfer market will also still remain active, and those who have points in their accounts can continue to use them.
EA also provides a further statement on their philosophy regarding their titles:
"We seek to bring choice, fairness, value and fun to our players in all our games. In addition to providing players options in how they play, we include pack probabilities in our games for the transparency players want to make informed content choices. While we are taking this action, 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. The impact of this change to FIFA Ultimate Team in Belgium is not material to our financial performance."
EA has followed in the footsteps of the likes of Blizzard who has already removed loot boxes in Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm for Belgian players, although some games like mobile Square Enix titles have been removed entirely from Belgium after failing to comply with the new rules on loot boxes.
Will we see this decision extend further than Belgium?