EA Sports’ FIFA series has always struggled with the potential of the game’s government-regulated Ultimate Team packs.
There have always been calls for packs to be regulated, as players can buy them with real money, and they don’t know which players will appear in the selected pack.
There has been a court case in the Netherlands, assessing whether or not FIFA packs constitute gambling.
By GamesIndustry.bizthe Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Dutch Council of State issued a decision last month confirming that FIFA packs are not considered a game of chance.
Indeed, packs are an “inseparable part” of Ultimate Team. The tribunal is the highest administrative court in the land, so an appeal is not an option.
In the Netherlands, it is not legal to offer someone a game of chance on Dutch territory unless the company offering the game has a license from the Dutch Gaming Authority .
According to the report, a game of chance is considered such if the following two criteria can be met: a participant must have the opportunity to win prizes and the winner of the game is determined by chance.
Therefore, a game cannot be considered chance if the participant can influence the outcome of the game by his own actions.
As for the FIFA decision, the decision occupies nine pages. Judge started by wondering if loot boxes — packs, in this case — qualify as a standalone game. If we consider that loot boxes are a game in their own right, then they can be evaluated as a potential game of chance.
In terms of Ultimate Team, the judge ruled it to be a game of skill, albeit a mixed one, as games played in the mode are won by the best player.
The judge also rules that the packs are considered part of this mode, rather than a standalone game, as the packs are acquired and opened in Ultimate Team.
The fact that they can be purchased with real money makes no difference.
Perhaps surprisingly, 92% of FIFA packs are said to be obtained in-game – either through Virtual Coins, as rewards, or through Squad Building Challenges – and 8% are purchased.
As a result, FIFA packs are an integral part of Ultimate Team and Ultimate Team is considered a game of skill. Subsequently, the Dutch Council of State decided that Dutch gambling law did not apply to these specific loot boxes.
However, the Dutch decision also makes it clear that the decision could be different in a specific case where it can be proven that loot boxes are opened on a large scale for the sole purpose of trading their contents, rather than finding players for them. join your team.