FUT packs
by Peace Nwankpa in
eSports Betting News

Sony, the company behind PlayStation, has been ordered by an Austrian court to refund players who purchased FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) packs, on the grounds that they constitute a form of gambling.

The Austrian district court of Hermagor stated that the packs violated the country’s gambling laws, after discovering that the contents were randomized and had a value that was potentially more or less than the purchase amount. This branded the products as a form of gambling, and they were to be regulated as “games of chance that require a license”.

Part of the court’s ruling stated that the firms required a gambling license to retain profits from FUT packs like in other regions. This ruling is not yet legally binding and will likely only affect how PlayStation uses its portion of the microtransactions. While PlayStation is not responsible for creating the football game, it is entitled to a cut on every transaction carried out via the PS Store, including the FUT packs.

FUT packs are digital purchases that can be bought via an in-game store and share prizes at random. The game mode has players spend money to buy online card packs that occasionally include virtual footballers. The prizes can be traded for in-game currency, or they can be used in acquiring teams for players to use while competing online.

This method of gambling has been long contested in European countries. Nations like the Netherlands and Belgium have already prohibited the sale of FUT packs as part of the FIFA series’ gameplay.

The court’s ruling comes at the conclusion of a lawsuit against Sony because the company benefited from customers spending hundreds of Euros on FUT packs. Ulrich Salzburg, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, argued that this was a direct breach of the Austrian Gaming Act. He also claimed that the controversial FIFA packs were undoubtedly a form of illegal gambling.

Salzburg opined that the case displayed just how addictive micro-transactions of this nature could be. Loot boxes were also criticized for providing “dopamine bursts” to customers after a purchase.

A portion of the plaintiffs wanted up to €85,000 to be refunded to them, while a larger number of the claims were worth around €800. The court did not mention the exact amount Sony will have to reimburse its customers.

The original report reveals that the lawsuit targeted Sony rather than EA because the company was in charge of processing payments. This move worked in favor of EA by shielding the company; however, the case could cause some issues in its dealings in Austria.

EA also previously denied claims of offering minors gambling products while complying with Belgium and Dutch court decisions to remove the gaming features from both markets.

Sony is expected to appeal the court’s decision. It will likely want to curb any issues the ruling could cause in the future like more disgruntled customers filing lawsuits. If the court’s decision is upheld, other firms like Nintendo and Microsoft that handle FIFA payments could be affected.

More esports news

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Share Post:
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments