Electronic Arts has removed the ability of Ultimate Team players to purchase FIFA Points in its FIFA games (on all systems) in Belgium starting January 31.
FIFA Points is the in-game currency of the series’ Ultimate Team mode that is used to buy randomized packs containing players and other items for the mode. Packs can also be bought with a separate Coin currency earned via gameplay.
The existence of FIFA Points created an ecosystem where players could spend real-money for a chance to get good players quicker than having to grind through matches for Coins.
Players in the country can still spend their Points after the January 31 deadline, but will not be able to buy new ones.
Belgium was investigating EA and other companies over the legality of in-game loot boxes that could be purchased with real money, and the company added pack probabilities this year in all territories.
In a statement, EA added, “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.”
[Source: gamesindustry.biz, Electronic Arts]
While this is good news for consumer advocates/gambling watchdogs in Belgium, I have no doubt that EA will fight any additional moves to strip out its money-making FIFA Points – or any other paid currency from its games – on a territory-by-territory basis.