Since it’s almost Halloween, nothing is scarier to most gamers than mentioning the word “loot box”, since it instantly conjures up images of needing to spend hundreds of dollars on in-game cosmetics that, while not game-breaking, surely diminish the fun of playing a game that you already have paid full price for. A game that has had the most discussion about these loot boxes is FIFA, a soccer game series published by EA, as Electronic Arts were taken to court earlier this year for a long protracted court battle with the Netherlands government. It was alleged that the loot boxes in FIFA could possibly be in violation of the gambling rules of certain countries and that they were detrimental to the consumers who purchased the game.
THIS STORY AND MORE ON THE BREAKDOWN
EA LOOT BOX SYSTEM
Now, however, according to a Netherlands publication called NU, the highest court in the country has ruled against EA, even though the company argued that the content of it’s FIFA Ultimate Team packs could not be converted into real money and therefore only has value in its games. The judge dismissed those claims and ordered the company to disable ALL loot boxes within three weeks or face a weekly fine of almost $600,000, which is an INSANE amount since you could be paying MILLIONS over the course of just a single month.
EA is obviously going to be appealing the decision since it will take longer than a month to just be able to remove all the loot boxes from FIFA, and what’s even more disappointing, is that since this happened all in a Dutch court, that if the loot boxes were removed, they would only be removed in the Netherlands and not for all countries. But, it is a step towards possibly dissuading companies from building games based on loot box models as a way for them to make their money. At the end of the day, the debate still remains regardless of what the court has ruled.
Do you think loot boxes are gambling? And should they be allowed in video games that may have younger audiences playing and possibly purchasing them? Let us know on Twitter.
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