Netherlands Pursue Crack Down On Electronic Arts For FIFA Ultimate Team Gambling

Netherlands Pursue Crack Down On Electronic Arts For FIFA Ultimate Team Gambling
Credit: EA Sports via YouTube

Be still our beating hearts, there are still legal offices with some teeth left to try and protect consumers.

It’s a story that might blow you either way depending on your personal views regarding the government’s ideal reach into corporate facets and how they interact with their consumers, but it’s also the first burst of lightning that we’re finally seeing after years of arguments between governments and Electronic Arts regarding the simulated gambling that they allegedly encourage within the FIFA franchise via FIFA Ultimate Team.

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Within FIFA Ultimate Team (colloquially FUT in the parlance) users need to purchase card packs in order to strengthen their team.

Within these card packs could be Ronaldo himself, or the world’s worst-ranked FIFA player; there is next to no difference from the user’s perspective. Of course, on Electronic Art’s side, they ensure that there is an extremely limited chance of players to strengthen their team anything but incrementally, encouraging additional purchases so that they can finally restart climbing up the leaderboard.

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It’s been no secret that Electronic Arts has devised a ranking system that encourages users to purchase more cards as well, including scripted events that force a winning team to lose possession and fail every tackle while the opposing team scores easily.

Now, the Netherlands is one of the first nations to finally take action against the behavior that EA themselves reported has earned them well over a billion annually; a Netherlands court has stated that they are fining Electronic Arts every week to the tune of €500,000 until they remove the gambling.

Electronic Arts has replied by stating that they are going to appeal the decision; apparently, we’re still in the argument of ‘surprise mechanics‘.

Yet the overall issue here is less about Electronic Arts using FUT, and more about how FIFA tossed their license towards Electronic Arts for the long term, regardless of any improvements or general merits of the company owning the only franchise that can readily use FIFA’s license; much the same as 2K managed to gut the NBA video game franchise with annual releases that change little aside from microtransaction prices.

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This is the state of the franchise as it sits within video games currently precisely because Electronic Arts owns the exclusive rights, which allows certain sinister malfeasance in terms of predatory marketing and monetization schemes.

The judge offered Electronic Arts three weeks to disable the loot boxes before the severity of the consequence apparently become far more drastic.