The Dutch government announced earlier in October that it would be enforcing a fine against EA for its implementation of paid-for loot boxes in its most recent FIFA games.
EA will have to change the way its loot box-like items work in FIFA 19, 20, and 21, or every week the company will be fined €250,000, up to a maximum of €5 million. That’s just in The Netherlands – the same fine is being levied against EA’s Swiss subsidiary, meaning it could double in practice.
EA Benelux issued a statement, noting its intent to appeal the fine. “We’re disappointed by today’s decision, and the possible impact of it on Dutch players. We do not agree that our products and services are in conflict with the local gambling laws,” the statement reads. “We do appeal against this decision and try to prevent a situation that impacts the full possibilities of Dutch players in FIFA Ultimate Team.”
“Electronic Arts attaches great importance to a positive playing experience: we strive to give all players choice, honesty, value, and pleasure in our games. We’re still open to take part in talks with the Netherlands Gambling Authority and other stakeholders to solve and understand their concerns.”
Players of FIFA Ultimate Team will be familiar with the game’s player packs, which can be purchased with FIFA Points, a currency that can be acquired with real money. The contents of the packs are randomised, hence why many take umbrage with their inclusion and see the packs as a form of gambling.
The Netherlands banned loot boxes back in 2018, and the ripple effect of this decision is still being felt by many publishers in the games industry.
Jordan Oloman is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.