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FIFA 19: EA is now ‘under criminal investigation’ in Belgium for FIFA’s loot boxes

The company has failed to comply with the country's gambling laws

The Belgian government has reportedly launched a criminal investigation into EA after the publisher refused to modify Ultimate Team packs in line with the country’s gambling laws.

Belgium’s Gaming Commission determined that lootboxes found in the likes of FIFA, Overwatch and Counter Strike were forms of gambling and subject to the appropriate laws.

After the ruling in April, Blizzard, Valve, and 2K Games disabled loot boxes, but EA took no action.

Should the Brussels public prosecutor’s office choose to move ahead with the case, it will go to court and EA could face huge fines.

The UK’s gambling laws are different to Belgium’s – so Ultimate Team is safe here, for now

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The UK’s gambling laws are different to Belgium’s – so Ultimate Team is safe here, for now

Earlier in the year, EA claimed its games were “developed and implemented ethically and lawfully around the world”. They argued their titles could not “be considered as any form of gambling”.

Back in June, EA confirmed to Eurogamer that FIFA 19 will include pack odds disclosures.

EA Sports vice president and COO Daryl Holt said: “For Ultimate Team, when you buy a pack you know what you are getting.

“You are getting a certain number of assets that are guaranteed – and we’re going to start to do pack odds disclosures that’ll show you the odds of what you might get.

“That’ll be in our product year 19 titles. So, at least that aspect of understanding what the chances are of getting X, Y and Z card.”

FIFA 19’s demo will reportedly land on September 13.

Is this the beginning of the end for Ultimate Team in Belgium?

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Is this the beginning of the end for Ultimate Team in Belgium?

Gaming website TrueAchievements claim a source close to the game revealed the date – and also confirmed a section of The Journey will be available to preview.

Here’s everything you need to know about the demo – from how many teams you’ll get to play with, to the features you’ll be able to try.

How many teams will be in playable in the demo?

There have been reports that 13 teams will be playable, but so far we’ve only seen nine.

These are as follows:

  • Bayern Munich
  • Juventus
  • PSG
  • Man City
  • Man United
  • Borussia Dortmund
  • Real Madrid
  • Atletico Madrid
  • Tottenham Hotspur

Amazingly, Dortmund were only recently added to the roster after the German team dumped PES and switched allegiances to EA.

It’s not known yet what stadiums will feature, but we’re almost certain there won’t be nine of them.

The demo will likely offer offline play with up to two players – and may include a playable section of The Journey, although no details have been confirmed.

There are also a host of new gameplay features and tweaks set to arrive to this year’s game.

Here are the most important.

Neymar was a big part of the FIFA 19 trailer

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Neymar was a big part of the FIFA 19 trailer

Will I be able to play online?

No – the demo will be offline only.

How long will matches last?

You’ll be locked to four-minute halves.

What season / weather conditions are available?

Autumn / Fall / rain / clear are the available options.

Will The Journey be included?

Yes – there are reports there will be a playable section.

How big is the file to install?

Playstation 4:  7.3 Gb
XBox One: 8.0 Gb

Tactics

Game plans have been introduced this year – which are set up before a match.

Here, you can set what tactics your team has depending on certain situations – such as if they’re 1-0 up or losing a match.

Once you have made the plans, simply assign to a D-pad press and you’re good to go.

Unlike last year, when it was hard to see if a tactical option had been executed, there’s now a clear toggle for on-the-fly instructions.

We’ve seen this before

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We’ve seen this before

You’re also now able to adjust your team’s width and depth, as well as instruct your full backs what kind of runs to make in attack or your centre back to cover certain areas of the pitch.

There’s greater control over your team’s defensive style, too – with new settings: “pressure after possession loss,” “constant pressure,” “drop back,” “balanced,” and “pressure on heavy touch.”

Sounds great!

Sweet spot

If you tap Circle or B just as your foot hits the ball, you massively increase the chance of striking it into the top corner.

It’s all about timing, so get it wrong and you’ll be punished with a scuffed shot.

Revised mini-map

A simple but welcome change.

One team will now have triangle icons, the other will have circles – so it’s easier to see who’s who.

Graphics look to have been tweaked and improved

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Graphics look to have been tweaked and improved

Champions League

EA has got everything from the Champions League logo including the commentary team, Derek Rae and Lee Dixon.

It’ll also have its own mode and the ability to create custom tournaments. Amazing.

Europa League

This was slightly overshadowed by the Champions League announcement, but yes the Europa League will also be in FIFA 19.

Expect the full broadcast package, too.

General gameplay 

Passing has been re-worked to feel more natural, while an active touch system allows better first touches from different parts of the body.

It also opens up the possibility of a feint attack – where, as the ball approaches, you can shift your weight one way, before going the other.

Cristiano Ronaldo will be on the cover of FIFA 19

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Cristiano Ronaldo will be on the cover of FIFA 19

Stepovers, too, are reportedly easier to pull off and look more convincing – making it harder for your opponent to defend against.

Finally, 50/50 battles over a loose ball will now take into account more variables than last year – such as reaction time.

NOW CHECK OUT THE FIFA 19 TRAILER BELOW.