Electronic Arts (EA) has been getting plenty of heat due to its insistence of including loot box mechanics to its games, especially in the Ultimate Team mode in its yearly FIFA releases. This resulted in legal battles between the company and local gambling authorities as well as lawmakers in regions such as Europe, Canada and others. Based on recent reports, it appears that the game publisher may consider blocking the mode altogether in certain countries with strict gambling laws in order to comply with the concerns.
FIFA Ultimate Team fansite FUT Watch took to Twitter to share a code that was discovered in the game’s latest patch, which contained the line “FIFA ULTIMATE TEAM is currently not accessible due to a demand from the authorities of your region.” This basically implies that EA has implemented a measure that will allow it to disable the loot box driven game mode in FIFA 21 from certain regions if things are to get ugly. For instance, losing the aforementioned legal battles.
— FUT Watch (@FutWatch) December 8, 2020
The game mode itself has gained notoriety which saw several cases involving users spending a tremendous amount of real life money to purchase in-game FUT Packs in order to obtain a desired football player for their team. As with every loot box or “gacha” based reward system, the prizes received upon opening these packs are randomised, with chances of acquiring a valuable player such as Lionel Messi to be as low as 1.1% in every try.
Electronic Arts has not revealed any plans to actually block the mode in any regions just yet. As reported last year, the publisher had also introduced alternative approaches in order to allow players in countries such as Belgium to continue enjoying Ultimate Team by removing in-game purchases entirely. The game’s FIFA Points in-game currency, which is required to purchase FUT Packs, are earned through playing the game instead.