‘FIFA’ Ultimate Team packs labelled “illegal gambling” by Austrian court

An Austrian court has ruled that FIFA‘s in-game Ultimate Team (FUT) packs are a form of “illegal gambling” and has ordered PlayStation manufacturer Sony to repay £299 (€338).

As reported by Games Wirtschaft (via VGC), Austria’s district court of Hermagor has issued a verdict for a lawsuit that Viennese law firm Salburghas filed against Sony and FIFA developer Electronic Arts.

In their current form, the court has claimed FIFA‘s Ultimate Team packs should be classified as “gambling games that require a license” because their value can fluctuate with each purchase.

As a result, Sony must refund £299.35 in purchases. However, the company is yet to comment on the ruling and still has room to appeal. NME has reached out to Sony for a statement.

As Gamesindustry.biz has explained, Sony was involved in the lawsuit because the FUT packs were bought through the company’s PlayStation Store.

‘FIFA 23’. CREDIT: EA Sports.

In recent years, FUT packs in FIFA have been subjected to growing scrutiny from watchdogs and government bodies.

In June 2022, a report authored by the Norwegian Consumer Council alleged that EA has been “targeting loot boxes and manipulative practices at kids” and uses “layers of virtual currencies to mask or distort real-world monetary costs.”

In November, research from Newcastle and Loughborough universities claimed loot boxes cause “financial and emotional harm to children.”

This year, the European Parliament voted to crack down on loot boxes in the games industry. A report condemning the practice was officially adopted by the European Parliament in January, which called on game developers to end “manipulative game design that can lead to gaming addiction, isolation and cyber-harassment.”

By adopting the report, the European Parliament also demanded “greater transparency from video games developers on the probabilities in loot box mechanisms.”

In other gaming news, 50 Cent has deleted two social media posts that were rumoured to be teasers for Grand Theft Auto 6.

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