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NEWS 12 September 2018

EA under criminal investigation from Belgian government over loot boxes

By Oliver Rudgewick

The Belgian government is conducting a criminal investigation into Electronic Arts (EA) because it continues to offer loot boxes in its video games FIFA 18 and 19.

The controversy surrounding loot boxes in video games has been well documented in recent months, with regulators in Belgium and Holland classifying them as an “illegal game of chance” and therefore gambling.

The Belgian Gaming Commission identified Counter-Strike Global Offensive (CS:GO), Overwatch and FIFA 18 as offending features. However, while the other gaming companies have agreed to remove loot boxes in Belgium, EA has refused to do so.

According to a report in Belgian publication Metro, this has seen the company become the subject of a criminal investigation by the Brussels public prosecutor's office. If it decides to prosecute, the case will go to court.

EA has started to improve transparency with its player base by announcing that FIFA 19 will include pack odds for the first time, giving a breakdown of what a player can attain from each loot box.

CEO Andrew Wilson also stated his belief that loot boxes in the game are not the equivalent of gambling back in May.

RELATED TAGS: Legal & Regulatory | Industry
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