Loot boxes available in games such as Overwatch and Star Wars Battlefront II should be banned in Europe, according to Belgium’s Gaming Commission.
They have launched an investigation into whether loot boxes – purchasable in-game items – constitute a form of gambling.
“The mixing of money and addiction is gambling,” the Gaming Commission declared.
Belgium’s Minister of Justice Koen Geens added: “Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child.”
While this centres on the furore around Battlefront II’s in-game loot boxes, it could obviously have huge implications for EA’s flagship sports title, FIFA.
Ultimate Team packs require players to spend money, with no guarantee of getting any worthwhile cards.
It comes as thousands of FIFA 18 gamers look to pressure EA to change core aspects of the game – including FUT packs – in a movement called #FIXFIFA.
Earlier in the week, an EA representative wrote on the support forum: “Thanks for all the constructive posts in the thread which state where you think the game could be changed for the better and what bugs you may have come across.”
Later in the statement, he appears to question the #FIXFIFA movement, by writing: “Simply saying fixfifa and / or quoting someone else saying it is ot helpful in the slightest, what are you expecting us to do with that ‘feedback’?”
The comment caused quite a stir in the Reddit community, with one gamer writing: “If he spends like an hour on reddit he can finds pages and pages full of constructive feedback but he’s acting like the only thing we’re doing is screaming FixFIFA, it’s a joke.”
Many are not happy with a number of aspects in EA’s latest football title – with some claiming it has changed dramatically since it launched at the end of September.
Packs are regarded as being far too expensive – with reports that the best team on the game costs £1000s to acquire.
Elsewhere, the Weekend League has come under fire – with the current requirement of 40 games across Friday evening to Sunday evening seen as unhealthy and too taxing.
One gamer wrote about the Weekend League: “The player cannot have a casual weekend if he/she wants to finish them all, the community wants Weekend League to be Friday night, to Monday night. Four days, 10 games a day, now that isn’t as bad.
“But as of now, 40 games in a 3 day period is just insane. Games last around average 12-20 minutes. Not to mention the Weekend League is utterly stupid, and should just have a ranking system like every other MOBA.”
Gameplay, too, has come under fire – with some claiming core mechanics have changed for the worse.
“At launch FIFA 18 was incredibly smooth, it felt like the best FIFA game ever, to many”, wrote one gamer.
“I bought the game days after launch watching gameplay, and boy was it amazing.
“Goalkeepers/Long shots needed a slight nerf, which is what the entire community wanted. Alas, EA made the game terrible, and not what people purchased.
“They changed everything, defending is now fully assisted, gameplay feels slow, goalkeepers save almost every shot, and the game is not fun nor competitive anymore. EA made the game cater to casuals after the patch.”
Scripting or ‘momentum’ is also back in a ‘big way’, claim some players. This refers to the game favouring the losing player in online matches – manifested in increased shot accuracy or improved goalkeeper ability. EA strongly denies any such mechanism exists.
Still, that hasn’t stopped some claiming a ‘kick off’ boost exists – which makes it easier to score from a restart.
“When the player concedes, the opponent gets a definite boost and has a higher chance to score off kickoff,” writes one gamer.
These, among other issues, are the driving force behind the #FIXFIFA movement.
The movement encourages gamers to tweet @EASPORTSFIFA, using the hashtag #FIXFIFA – citing the issue they want fixed, preferably with evidence.
It comes as hundreds of gamers prepare to boycott EA’s biggest promotion of the year – Black Friday.
During this period, EA releases new purchasable content every 24 hours in attempt to convince gamers into spending money on FUT packs – but some have said they will not be taking part.
One FIFA gamer wrote: “Forget just boycotting FIFA points. Do not play the game. They can see how many people are playing and what modes. Send a real message and don’t play the game the entire Black Friday weekend.”
It’s been a tough couple of weeks for EA, who saw the launch of Star Wars Battlefront II dominated by criticism over lootboxes and locked characters.
The company was forced to backtrack and turn off all in-game purchases in response to the negative sentiment from the gaming community.
“It’s clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design. We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. … Sorry we didn’t get this right,” EA wrote in the post, which became the most downvoted post in Reddit history.
“We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases. The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we’ve made changes to the game.”
The fallout got so bad, that investors are now worried the controversy will hurt the game’s sales.
NOW CHECK OUT THESE FIFA FAILS.