Micro-transactions in the gaming industry have increased considerably and FIFA packs have no doubt been one of the most successful revenue generation ideas maybe ever. If you're not sure what FIFA points are they are essentially lootboxes but for getting players to play in the games Ultimate Team where you can create your own dream team of players from around the world and play against others. We reported on the success of the gaming industry in 2018 and what the future for gaming may be like in 2019 and the looming court case against these types of micro-transactions in Belgium was highlighted as a potential risk for games that use it as a primary source of income after the initial sales period is over.
EA have therefore stopped the buying FIFA points and therefore the packs from 31 January 2019 in Belgium and it may not be much longer until we see the same happen across other countries too. The basic argument against the lootboxes/packs mechanisms are that they are essentially gambling and it is most likely that it is teenagers that are "gambling" on these packs by buying coins with real money to get the best squads and it is not setting a good standard. I'm sure there are many other opinions and EA have tried to argue against it but it doesn't mean you cannot get packs. By playing Ultimate Team you can still earn coins and buy players that way, it will just take much longer to get the best players or it may drastically affect the prices if the rule change is brought about in many more countries.
After further discussions with the Belgian authorities, we have decided to stop offering FIFA Points for sale in Belgium. We’re working to make these changes effective in our FIFA console and PC games by January 31, 2019. This means that players in Belgium will not be able to purchase points to obtain FIFA Ultimate Team packs. Players still can access Ultimate Team and play with their existing players. All content in the game can be earned through gameplay, as has always been the case, and players can continue to use coins and the in-game transfer market. Any players in Belgium that have existing FIFA Points in their accounts can continue to use them, but they will not be able to purchase more. We apologize to our players in Belgium for any inconvenience caused by this change.
We seek to bring choice, fairness, value and fun to our players in all our games. In addition to providing players options in how they play, we include pack probabilities in our games for the transparency players want to make informed content choices. 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.
You can read the official press release from EA Games here.