EA announced today that it will stop selling FIFA points in Belgium following government pressure and criminal investigation into loot boxes. The changes are set to take place by January 31.
"After further discussions with the Belgian authorities, we have decided to stop offering FIFA Points for sale in Belgium," EA writes in a statement published today on its blog. The changes, which are set to take place on both console and PC by January 31, will delist FIFA Points from Belgium's digital stores.
Previously, players could purchase FIFA Points using real-world money and exchange the Points for FIFA Ultimate Team packs. FIFA Ultimate Team will still be playable in Belgium, and all previously owned FUT cards will be useable. Going forward, Belgian players will only be able to earn new FUT card packs with FIFA coins, which are the in-game currency players earn through normal gameplay. Existing Points can still be used after the deadline, but no new Points can be purchased.
EA's removal of FIFA Points comes two years after the company kicked off a loot box controversy with Star Wars: Battlefront 2. In 2017, Belgium's Gaming Commission concluded that loot boxes are a form of gambling. Belgian's Gaming Commission also outlawed loot boxes after looking into games like FIFA, Overwatch, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Blizzard and 2K Games removed loot boxes from their games in Belgium to comply with the Commission's findings. And now, after a year, EA is following suit.
"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 writes in a statement.
Following the loot box controversy which kickstarted a wave of investigations into claims the mechanic is a form gambling, many developers have found alternative ways to monetize their video games. Battle passes are increasingly popular and featured in new EA games like Battlefield 5. According to legal experts, battle passes are likely to stand up stronger to legal scrutiny.