A court ruling in Austria has declared loot boxes in video games to be illegal gambling. The verdict was reached after a group of FIFA players sued Sony, the platform holder, for losing hundreds of euros on the FIFA Ultimate Team card packs, which is the series’ version of loot boxes.
The court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and stated that loot boxes violate Austria’s gambling laws because their contents are determined by chance and can be worth more or less than what a player paid for them. The FIFA Ultimate Team packs must now be classified as “gambling games that require a license.”
This ruling could have significant implications for other games that also feature loot boxes or similar mechanics. It may lead to more countries following suit and potentially banning loot boxes altogether. It is worth noting that EA, the publisher of FIFA, pulled its games from sale in Belgium and the Netherlands after those countries banned loot boxes.
The verdict is a significant blow to the video game industry, as many games rely on loot boxes as a source of revenue. The ruling could lead to a major shift in how game developers and publishers monetize their games. It is unclear how this ruling will affect the future of the FIFA franchise, but it is possible that the game may no longer be able to offer its Ultimate Team packs in Austria.
This ruling is not the first time loot boxes have come under scrutiny. In 2018, the Belgian Gaming Commission declared that loot boxes constituted gambling and should be banned. The commission’s findings led to several game developers, including EA, removing loot boxes from their games in Belgium.
The verdict has been met with mixed reactions from gamers and industry professionals. Some argue that loot boxes are a harmless addition to games and that players are not required to purchase them. Others argue that loot boxes are exploitative and predatory, designed to entice players into spending money on virtual items.
Sony and other gaming groups will likely have to adapt to this ruling and re-evaluate their business practices. The verdict may lead to more scrutiny of the gaming industry as a whole and could lead to more countries regulating loot boxes and other similar mechanics.
The recent court ruling in Austria declaring loot boxes in video games to be illegal gambling is a significant development that could have major implications for the industry. The verdict could lead to more countries following suit and banning loot boxes altogether. Game developers and publishers may have to find new ways to monetize their games, and players may have to adjust to a new era of gaming where loot boxes are no longer a feature.