The points are used to buy FIFA Ultimate Team packs, which contain player and consumable items used in the popular game mode. They’re essentially the “FIFA” franchise’s version of a loot box. Last year, the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) decided many forms of loot boxes in titles like “FIFA” and “Overwatch” are illegal gambling because players don’t know exactly what they’re getting when they buy them. It suggested publishers should include the odds of winning, along with a warning label.
While companies like Valve, Activision Blizzard, and 2K Games reportedly complied with the BGC’s guidelines, EA did not. In September, Belgian newspaper Metro reported that the Brussels public prosecutor’s office was conducting a criminal investigation into the publisher. Although that report was never confirmed by EA, on Tuesday it said it made its decision “after further discussions with the Belgian authorities.”
Once FIFA Points are removed, Belgians can still access the Ultimate Team mode 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,” EA said. “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.”
EA added that it does include pack probabilities in its games for transparency and that it seeks “to bring choice, fairness, value and fun to our players in all our games.” It also said that while it’s taking steps to remove FIFA Points, it doesn’t agree with the Belgian authorities interpretation of the law and it will “continue to seek more clarity on the matter.”
Variety reached out to EA for comment, but it did not immediately respond.