Statement regarding EA’s decision to stop sale of FIFA points in Belgium
Today, EA announced their decision to discontinue sale of FIFA Points in Belgium to comply with requests from local authorities.
ISFE, representing the video games industry across Europe, continues to be concerned by the potential impact of the Belgian authorities’ stance on the availability of a diverse offering to the large gamer community in Belgium.
Several gambling authorities across Europe have raised concerns about so-called loot boxes through a declaration on the blurring of the lines between gambling and gaming, noting however that this issue is more of a matter of consumer protection law than of gambling regulation. The Belgian authorities have chosen a different approach.
ISFE therefore welcomes the focus that other gambling authorities in Europe have taken to further look into illegal practices such as “skin betting” where third party gambling sites allow minors to bet and trade on virtual items. ISFE members do not allow, facilitate, or condone the conversion of virtual currencies or other in-game items into money or the use of them within unlicensed third party gambling sites.
The video games industry takes its responsibility to consumers, particularly children, very seriously. Every platform has parental control tools installed allowing parents to ensure their children can play games safely, sensibly and responsibly. These tools allow parents to make choices about the way their children enjoy games, including control and limit spending, set and control the time spent on games and online generally, and manage the sharing of information with other players. The large majority of parents do monitor the in-game spending of their children. Only 2 % of parents chose not to monitor the in-game spending of children. www.jouezmalin.be / www.speelhetslim.be
When ISFE members offer in-game purchasing, they make it optional and transparent. The Pan European Game Information body, PEGI, which issues the suitable age rating for each video game issues an in-game purchase descriptor for video games in which it is possible to spend money, among its already existing 7 content descriptors: https://pegi.info/news/new-in-game-purchases-descriptor
Head of Policy & Public Affairs
ISFE represents national trade associations in 18 territories across Europe and 14 of the major video game companies. The European video games industry was worth €20 billion in 2017, with a 18% growth in key markets, and has a 250 million gamer community. ISFE ensures that the voice of the video games ecosystem is heard and understood, that its creative potential is celebrated, and that gamers around the world continue to responsibly enjoy great gaming experiences.