It looks like Electronic Arts will no longer stand by the controversial option of letting Belgium FIFA players purchase FIFA Points. Yes, as of January 29th, 2019, the move of stopping said action will soon kick-off in the place known for medieval towns and Renaissance architecture.
The country bordered between France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands happens to be that of Belgium. Additionally, it looks like the big company known as Electronic Arts has agreed with said country to remove FIFA Points after further discussions with authorities in the sovereign state in Western Europe.
The information relayed that said function, known as microtransactions or FIFA Points to others, will be turned-off in Belgium comes from a notice that Electronic Arts posted up on its news spot on ea.com:
“After further discussions with the Belgian authorities, we have decided to stop offering FIFA Points for sale in Belgium. We’re working to make these changes effective in our FIFA console and PC games by January 31, 2019. This means that players in Belgium will not be able to purchase points to obtain FIFA Ultimate Team packs. Players still can access Ultimate Team and play with their existing players. All content in the game can be earned through gameplay, as has always been the case, and players can continue to use coins and the in-game transfer market. Any players in Belgium that have existing FIFA Points in their accounts can continue to use them, but they will not be able to purchase more. We apologize to our players in Belgium for any inconvenience caused by this change.
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.”
But that’s not all, the near one-hundred-year-old publication Het Nieuwsblad — a Belgian newspaper that mainly focusses on “a broad view” regarding politics, culture, economics, lifestyle, society, and sports — offered some insight on the matter. Over on nieuwsblad.be, the following can be read below:
“After further discussions with the Belgian authorities, we decided not to offer FIFA points for sale in Belgium anymore,” said Electronic Arts, the developer of the FIFA games, in a communication news post. These points can be used to buy packages containing players, although you don’t know what you’ll get. “That is gambling,” says the Belgian gambling commission. These FIFA points can be used to buy ‘ultimate team packages’ in the sports game. These are digital random packages or loot-boxes with well-known players. On the EA site, you can even find the probability per-category of player. The better the player, the smaller the chance of obtaining them.
EA always called it ‘a way of playing’ or ‘pin dynamics,’ but since you can not only win FIFA Points, but can also buy them with real money, that’s clearly ‘gambling,’ according to the Belgian gambling commission. EA says it is “disappointed.”
“Although we are taking this step, we don’t agree with the Belgian authorities’ interpretation of the law and we’re still looking for more clarity on this,” the company said in a chat. “The impact of this change on FIFA Ultimate Team in Belgium has no material impact on our financial performance.”
The developer of the game alludes that the revenues from these random packages are small. A small survey among advanced players shows that ‘bought teams’ with such packages can quickly reach up to 5,000 euros.
Figures show that EA generates about 67% of all revenues, about 3 billion euros, from digital sales. According to Forbes, the share of ‘random packages’ in this is crucial.
Anyone who in the past ‘won’ or ‘bought’ players in this way may keep it that way. “Players still have access to the Ultimate Team game mode and can continue playing with their current players. All content of the game can, as has always been the case, be won by playing the game and players can continue to use coins and the transfer market.”
If you don’t know, in May of 2018, the Belgian Gaming Commission found that loot-boxes are gambling under current legislation, and ordered criminal prosecution against anybody/companies that continued said practice in their games. Although it looked like Electronic Arts was going to go headstrong into court over the digital issue back then, as of today, the company will stop offering FIFA Points in Belgium for all FIFA games on PC and console starting on January 31st, 2019.