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Forums - Gaming Discussion - Belgium starts criminal investigation against EA over FIFA loot boxes, Gaming Commission looking to sue

Bofferbrauer2 said:

Belgium, yes. But they're also lobbying to get this ruling expanded through the whole EU. That would be pretty much a killing blow for EA and their Fifa series, as it's by leaps and bounds the primary market of Fifa (about 80%, though this includes UK, which probably wouldn't be covered by such a ruling if it would come due to Brexit).

If they want to lobby this as much as possible through the EU then they can try by all means but if the EU as whole wants to express their backwardness towards software development just like they have for the semiconductors market then there's not much reasons for game publishers to continue their operations anymore in the EU ... 

Ka-pi96 said:

More likely that they'd just disable pack purchases with real money in that country (as 2K did for NBA). FIFA point purchases are already region locked as is, so it shouldn't even be that hard to change. They'll still release the game there though, there's no chance they'd give up all those sales.

I don't know about that. Half of EA's profits probably comes just from their Ultimate Team program alone if platform holders take 30% of the cut for all digital content sold. Belgium unconditionally banning loot boxes which goes farther than just EA's Ultimate Team program kills a lot of the motivation to distribute their games in the market. This move is definitely going to cut EA's profits from Belgium by at least a factor of 2 ... 

Mnementh said:

Belgium is european union and I that has a connected market. Meaning that a company should not be able to forbid re-selling anything sold in another EU-country. I'm not sure though, if in that case EA can be made responsible for the version sold outside Belgium.

Just because Belgium is a part of the EU does not mean that no other member states are not allowed to individually ban services or goods entering in their own domestic market ... 

Wyrdness said:

Belgium is the main HQ for the EU and are already passing the proposal to the rest of EU where the bulk of Fifa's sales are so unless EA want to lose out on sales from a whole region that isn't really an option, I know Netherlands have already accepted Belgium's stance.

Actually, the EU isn't giving EA much of an option if it ever decides to go that route but you're sorely mistaken if EA pulling out of the EU market isn't an option ...

And no the Netherlands did not accept Belgium's stance regarding loot boxes. Belgium outright bans the concept of monetizing loot boxes whereas the Netherlands only does so under the condition where the prizes can be traded so there's already no consensus among EU member countries regarding how loot boxes should be regulated ... (there needs to be a consensus among EU members to pass any motions) 

You and Bofferbraurer's dream of an intercontinental wide trading bloc ban of loot boxes is really far away. At best, some EU member states will just heavily regulate loot boxes and a couple will be extreme enough like in Belgium's case to unilaterally ban the practice ... (the UK doesn't regard loot boxes as gambling and even when they leave, there will be others like France where they have a vested interest in profiting off of the game industry considering how much value the likes of Ubisoft provides to their nation so they'll probably end up being lax about the issue like they are now



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flashfire926 said:

I thought 2K's reaction couldn't be topped:

https://www.pcgamesn.com/nba-2k19/2k-asks-belgium-fans-for-loot-box-help?tw=PCGN2

Though as we can all see, I turned out to be wrong. At this point it's just fucking hilarious.

Lol.

Honestly, I don't mind if games do add microtransactions as long as it doesn't affect progression and are used to pay for extra content that can be provided for free later on (halo 5 as an example). But this sort of thing is just bs. Hopefully EA gets to eat dick for what they are doing.



Made a bet with LipeJJ and HylianYoshi that the XB1 will reach 30 million before Wii U reaches 15 million. Loser has to get avatar picked by winner for 6 months (or if I lose, either 6 months avatar control for both Lipe and Hylian, or my patrick avatar comes back forever).

fatslob-:O said:
Bofferbrauer2 said:

Belgium, yes. But they're also lobbying to get this ruling expanded through the whole EU. That would be pretty much a killing blow for EA and their Fifa series, as it's by leaps and bounds the primary market of Fifa (about 80%, though this includes UK, which probably wouldn't be covered by such a ruling if it would come due to Brexit).

If they want to lobby this as much as possible through the EU then they can try by all means but if the EU as whole wants to express their backwardness towards software development just like they have for the semiconductors market then there's not much reasons for game publishers to continue their operations anymore in the EU ... 

Ka-pi96 said:

More likely that they'd just disable pack purchases with real money in that country (as 2K did for NBA). FIFA point purchases are already region locked as is, so it shouldn't even be that hard to change. They'll still release the game there though, there's no chance they'd give up all those sales.

I don't know about that. Half of EA's profits probably comes just from their Ultimate Team program alone if platform holders take 30% of the cut for all digital content sold. Belgium unconditionally banning loot boxes which goes farther than just EA's Ultimate Team program kills a lot of the motivation to distribute their games in the market. This move is definitely going to cut EA's profits from Belgium by at least a factor of 2 ... 

Mnementh said:

Belgium is european union and I that has a connected market. Meaning that a company should not be able to forbid re-selling anything sold in another EU-country. I'm not sure though, if in that case EA can be made responsible for the version sold outside Belgium.

Just because Belgium is a part of the EU does not mean that no other member states are not allowed to individually ban services or goods entering in their own domestic market ... 

Wyrdness said:

Belgium is the main HQ for the EU and are already passing the proposal to the rest of EU where the bulk of Fifa's sales are so unless EA want to lose out on sales from a whole region that isn't really an option, I know Netherlands have already accepted Belgium's stance.

Actually, the EU isn't giving EA much of an option if it ever decides to go that route but you're sorely mistaken if EA pulling out of the EU market isn't an option ...

And no the Netherlands did not accept Belgium's stance regarding loot boxes. Belgium outright bans the concept of monetizing loot boxes whereas the Netherlands only does so under the condition where the prizes can be traded so there's already no consensus among EU member countries regarding how loot boxes should be regulated ... (there needs to be a consensus among EU members to pass any motions) 

You and Bofferbraurer's dream of an intercontinental wide trading bloc ban of loot boxes is really far away. At best, some EU member states will just heavily regulate loot boxes and a couple will be extreme enough like in Belgium's case to unilaterally ban the practice ... (the UK doesn't regard loot boxes as gambling and even when they leave, there will be others like France where they have a vested interest in profiting off of the game industry considering how much value the likes of Ubisoft provides to their nation so they'll probably end up being lax about the issue like they are now

So protecting their citizens from predatory practices and enforcing laws is backwards now?

@bolded: Don't be so sure about that. Companies have much less of a grip over politics in Europe compared to the US, for instance. Also, why would Ubisoft go against the ruling? As far as i know they don't have any lootbox system in their games. A ban could actually be beneficial for them if it pushes out some pesky competitors.

Also, EA pulling out of Europe would mean for them to lose the Fifa license, which is by far and large their biggest income generator (60% just from Fifa Ultimate team iirc) and losing that is not an option for EA or their shareholders.



Bofferbrauer2 said:

So protecting their citizens from predatory practices and enforcing laws is backwards now?

@bolded: Don't be so sure about that. Companies have much less of a grip over politics in Europe compared to the US, for instance. Also, why would Ubisoft go against the ruling? As far as i know they don't have any lootbox system in their games. A ban could actually be beneficial for them if it pushes out some pesky competitors.

Also, EA pulling out of Europe would mean for them to lose the Fifa license, which is by far and large their biggest income generator (60% just from Fifa Ultimate team iirc) and losing that is not an option for EA or their shareholders.

"Predatory" in what way exactly ? As far as I'm concerned it's a corporations job to convince consumers that there exists value in the services or goods that they provide. Loot boxes are not any different from the other methods in reaching the same ultimate goal of a corporation selling to it's customers. If the customers don't like it that doesn't mean the corporation has to bend over and provide their customers free content. Quite a few of the EU's social democrat influenced laws are indeed backwards towards a few vital industries. EU is not one bit competitive in the semiconductor industry like we see with tiny East Asian countries such as South Korea or Taiwan due to it's ultra pro-union labour laws and price controls on drugs are not sustainable for bio-pharmaceutical industry development when Eroom's law is in place. There are only 2 capitally intensive industries left relevant to world trade that Europe is actually competitive in such as passenger airline technology (Airbus) and various biopharmaceutical companies ... 

Much less of a grip how ? Corporate interests will always be baked in a republic so long as humans keep participating in massive industries. South Korea and Samsung are the most extreme example of both being in political lockstep with each other since that one conglomerate massively accounts for the nation's economy so it's pretty much impossible for any European country with large companies to not somehow distort it's political system ... 

Actually, Ubisoft does have loot boxes (it uses real life currency too) in Ghost Recon: Wildlands and Rainbow Six: Siege ... 

If EA can't have the so called FIFA "Ultimate Team" (loot boxes) since the EU banned them then there's not much reason to pay a pretty penny anymore for the FIFA license, right ? (If it becomes lawfully undesirable to profit then it becomes undesirable to acquire the said license as well without a price cut) 

EU banning loot boxes altogether is counterproductive for EA since it accounts for 60% of it's net profits like you said so losing that isn't an option but what other realistic options are there when they're forced to opt out regardless ? 



fatslob-:O said:
Bofferbrauer2 said:

So protecting their citizens from predatory practices and enforcing laws is backwards now?

@bolded: Don't be so sure about that. Companies have much less of a grip over politics in Europe compared to the US, for instance. Also, why would Ubisoft go against the ruling? As far as i know they don't have any lootbox system in their games. A ban could actually be beneficial for them if it pushes out some pesky competitors.

Also, EA pulling out of Europe would mean for them to lose the Fifa license, which is by far and large their biggest income generator (60% just from Fifa Ultimate team iirc) and losing that is not an option for EA or their shareholders.

"Predatory" in what way exactly ? As far as I'm concerned it's a corporations job to convince consumers that there exists value in the services or goods that they provide. Loot boxes are not any different from the other methods in reaching the same ultimate goal of a corporation selling to it's customers. If the customers don't like it that doesn't mean the corporation has to bend over and provide their customers free content. Quite a few of the EU's social democrat influenced laws are indeed backwards towards a few vital industries. EU is not one bit competitive in the semiconductor industry like we see with tiny East Asian countries such as South Korea or Taiwan due to it's ultra pro-union labour laws and price controls on drugs are not sustainable for bio-pharmaceutical industry development when Eroom's law is in place. There are only 2 capitally intensive industries left relevant to world trade that Europe is actually competitive in such as passenger airline technology (Airbus) and various biopharmaceutical companies ... 

Much less of a grip how ? Corporate interests will always be baked in a republic so long as humans keep participating in massive industries. South Korea and Samsung are the most extreme example of both being in political lockstep with each other since that one conglomerate massively accounts for the nation's economy so it's pretty much impossible for any European country with large companies to not somehow distort it's political system ... 

Actually, Ubisoft does have loot boxes (it uses real life currency too) in Ghost Recon: Wildlands and Rainbow Six: Siege ... 

If EA can't have the so called FIFA "Ultimate Team" (loot boxes) since the EU banned them then there's not much reason to pay a pretty penny anymore for the FIFA license, right ? (If it becomes lawfully undesirable to profit then it becomes undesirable to acquire the said license as well without a price cut) 

EU banning loot boxes altogether is counterproductive for EA since it accounts for 60% of it's net profits like you said so losing that isn't an option but what other realistic options are there when they're forced to opt out regardless ? 

That's not loot boxes. That's FIFA. No doubt the FIFA packs account for a chunk of that, but considering they recently announced FIFA 18 had sold 24 million copies... they don't need to sell packs to make money on FIFA.

It's not like they didn't pay for the FIFA licence (and make a load of money from it) before they started selling packs... oh wait, they did. It was already a hugely successful game without them. And EA are a business, not a petulent child, they aren't just going to throw their toys out of the pram and refuse to sell FIFA games anymore just because they're not as profitable as they once were. They'd still rake in a shit tonne of money. 24m sales for the last one, that's nearly Call of Duty level, any publisher in the world would love a game that sold 20m+ copies every single year and they're certainly not going to give it up just because they can't sell packs in it anymore.



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When you're clearly making an absolute mint of a billion dollars from pure MT's alone, of course you're going to want to fight tooth and nail to secure that goldmine and allow yourself to siphon further from it in the future. EA are so very greedy and they have their 1b dollar franchise via MT's, so they naturally want to secure it, as all their other franchises are either dead, malformed and not making anywhere close to what Fifa makes or costing more to design (and then kill shortly afterwards).

I honestly hope this crushes EA, but it won't. I'd like to see them suffer for all the PC ip's they've killed over the years, as well as beloved studios.



               

fatslob-:O said:

Actually, the EU isn't giving EA much of an option if it ever decides to go that route but you're sorely mistaken if EA pulling out of the EU market isn't an option ...

And no the Netherlands did not accept Belgium's stance regarding loot boxes. Belgium outright bans the concept of monetizing loot boxes whereas the Netherlands only does so under the condition where the prizes can be traded so there's already no consensus among EU member countries regarding how loot boxes should be regulated ... (there needs to be a consensus among EU members to pass any motions) 

You and Bofferbraurer's dream of an intercontinental wide trading bloc ban of loot boxes is really far away. At best, some EU member states will just heavily regulate loot boxes and a couple will be extreme enough like in Belgium's case to unilaterally ban the practice ... (the UK doesn't regard loot boxes as gambling and even when they leave, there will be others like France where they have a vested interest in profiting off of the game industry considering how much value the likes of Ubisoft provides to their nation so they'll probably end up being lax about the issue like they are now

Don't kid yourself mate a large chunk of EA's profits came from FIFA alone if you think pulling out of EU is an option you're mistaken because guess what EA are a business and still need to operate regardless of any ruling, they're not going to give up 80% of FIFA's sales and potentially the license because someone else will fill the void.

What dream are you talking about? Are you high or something because I've not said anything of the sort or are you looking to be dismantled on a personal level because I can do that if you wish. You're talking as if gaming companies mean something to nations they don't gaming is a niche market compared to many industries around and so many large publishers have gone under and have had no impact on the countries they were based in, you're spouting a fantasy here were these publishers are bigger than what they really are.



Nintendo could probably abandon Europe and be fine, but E.A.....man oh man E.A could not afford to with how much money FIFA gets them there. If they had to abandon Europe their entire business model would basically have to be remade from the ground up, and it would probably be a downgrade from their current one, somehow.



The Democratic Nintendo fan....is that a paradox? I'm fond of one of the more conservative companies in the industry, but I vote Liberally and view myself that way 90% of the time?

Ka-pi96 said:
fatslob-:O said:

"Predatory" in what way exactly ? As far as I'm concerned it's a corporations job to convince consumers that there exists value in the services or goods that they provide. Loot boxes are not any different from the other methods in reaching the same ultimate goal of a corporation selling to it's customers. If the customers don't like it that doesn't mean the corporation has to bend over and provide their customers free content. Quite a few of the EU's social democrat influenced laws are indeed backwards towards a few vital industries. EU is not one bit competitive in the semiconductor industry like we see with tiny East Asian countries such as South Korea or Taiwan due to it's ultra pro-union labour laws and price controls on drugs are not sustainable for bio-pharmaceutical industry development when Eroom's law is in place. There are only 2 capitally intensive industries left relevant to world trade that Europe is actually competitive in such as passenger airline technology (Airbus) and various biopharmaceutical companies ... 

Much less of a grip how ? Corporate interests will always be baked in a republic so long as humans keep participating in massive industries. South Korea and Samsung are the most extreme example of both being in political lockstep with each other since that one conglomerate massively accounts for the nation's economy so it's pretty much impossible for any European country with large companies to not somehow distort it's political system ... 

Actually, Ubisoft does have loot boxes (it uses real life currency too) in Ghost Recon: Wildlands and Rainbow Six: Siege ... 

If EA can't have the so called FIFA "Ultimate Team" (loot boxes) since the EU banned them then there's not much reason to pay a pretty penny anymore for the FIFA license, right ? (If it becomes lawfully undesirable to profit then it becomes undesirable to acquire the said license as well without a price cut) 

EU banning loot boxes altogether is counterproductive for EA since it accounts for 60% of it's net profits like you said so losing that isn't an option but what other realistic options are there when they're forced to opt out regardless ? 

That's not loot boxes. That's FIFA. No doubt the FIFA packs account for a chunk of that, but considering they recently announced FIFA 18 had sold 24 million copies... they don't need to sell packs to make money on FIFA.

It's not like they didn't pay for the FIFA licence (and make a load of money from it) before they started selling packs... oh wait, they did. It was already a hugely successful game without them. And EA are a business, not a petulent child, they aren't just going to throw their toys out of the pram and refuse to sell FIFA games anymore just because they're not as profitable as they once were. They'd still rake in a shit tonne of money. 24m sales for the last one, that's nearly Call of Duty level, any publisher in the world would love a game that sold 20m+ copies every single year and they're certainly not going to give it up just because they can't sell packs in it anymore.

Fifa stands at over 5 Billion income for this year alone (source here, but you'd need to pay to see it). Considering most sales of Fifa having been done last year already, most of that sum must be lootboxes. Even just counting 24M times 60$ would not be enough to cover more than a quarter of the income Fifa generated for EA this year alone



Ka-pi96 said:

That's not loot boxes. That's FIFA. No doubt the FIFA packs account for a chunk of that, but considering they recently announced FIFA 18 had sold 24 million copies... they don't need to sell packs to make money on FIFA.

It's not like they didn't pay for the FIFA licence (and make a load of money from it) before they started selling packs... oh wait, they did. It was already a hugely successful game without them. And EA are a business, not a petulent child, they aren't just going to throw their toys out of the pram and refuse to sell FIFA games anymore just because they're not as profitable as they once were. They'd still rake in a shit tonne of money. 24m sales for the last one, that's nearly Call of Duty level, any publisher in the world would love a game that sold 20m+ copies every single year and they're certainly not going to give it up just because they can't sell packs in it anymore.

Really ? "(60% just from Fifa Ultimate team iirc)" 

It didn't sound like how he implicated it in his wording at all ... 

You do realize that the majority of the money that EA makes on their FIFA licenses are to be repaid in debt when the bought the license, right ? Rest assured that EA's margins are thin and that the FIFA body isn't getting screwed out of the deal in the process since they hold all the keys. FIFA may sell a lot of copies but it's no good to EA if the FIFA body just keeps taking most of it and EA doesn't seem all that thrilled about their Star Wars license from Disney ... 

Wyrdness said:

Don't kid yourself mate a large chunk of EA's profits came from FIFA alone if you think pulling out of EU is an option you're mistaken because guess what EA are a business and still need to operate regardless of any ruling, they're not going to give up 80% of FIFA's sales and potentially the license because someone else will fill the void.

And a large part of EA's costs are maintaining the FIFA license alone since FIFA doesn't own the problem of how their going to make the games profitable so if EA wants a cut from the property that's their problem ... 

Wyrdness said:

What dream are you talking about? Are you high or something because I've not said anything of the sort or are you looking to be dismantled on a personal level because I can do that if you wish. You're talking as if gaming companies mean something to nations they don't gaming is a niche market compared to many industries around and so many large publishers have gone under and have had no impact on the countries they were based in, you're spouting a fantasy here were these publishers are bigger than what they really are.

LOL, "Belgium is the main HQ for the EU and are already passing the proposal to the rest of EU so unless EA want to lose out on sales from a whole region that isn't really an option" ...

The revisionism is strong in you since you're trying so hard to hide your distaste of loot boxes as a supposed consensus. Acting as the strong man won't get you out this time since your denial only translates to cognitive dissonance ... (anyone can see that you have a bias against loot boxes and is salivating for an intercontinental wide ban on them)

Again, EU has jack shit for leverage since they don't have a consensus among their members and with the UK leaving it makes them less of a threat to EA than they are now ...