PlayStation refunds microtransactions to players following a court decision on loot boxes
PlayStation will refund FIFA players after an Austrian court ruled that FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) packs constituted a form of gambling.
Microtransactions continue to come under fire within the gaming industry. Just last year, the UK government advised developers to restrict loot boxes, warning them that if they didn’t, the government could bring in legislation forcing their hand.
The thing is, microtransactions make a ton of money as much as we hate them. Diablo Immortal generated a whopping $24 million in its first two weeks of release alone in 2022, yet elsewhere Call of Duty fans have claimed that microtransactions are ruining the franchise. In Austria though, the loot box crackdown has begun and Sony will soon begin refunding FIFA players.
Back in March, an Austrian court deemed FIFA Ultimate Team to be a form of gambling. If you don’t know, the mode sees players purchase virtual card packs, each featuring cards with different footballers. These can then be used to create teams to compete online, or they can be traded and sold for in-game currency.
The debacle began in 2020 when several FIFA players took Sony to court. If you’re thinking, isn’t FIFA a product of EA? You’d be correct, but Sony does profit from FUT packs sold on the PlayStation Store. One plaintiff, a minor, said they’d gambled EUR400 (PS347), with their lawyer arguing that the random nature of the contents of the packs violated Austria’s gambling laws. Sony was ordered to pay back EUR338 (PS294).
Now, as reported by Eurogamer, it’s been discovered that Sony has not appealed the decision of the court – which it was free to do until 3 April. This means Sony will have paid out the above plaintiff. Several hundred Euros may not seem like a big deal to a company like Sony, but it’s a development that is seemingly giving other players the confidence to come forward.
Eurogamer reported that “several hundred” plaintiffs could be now coming forward in Austria, prompting many further payouts. Neither EA nor Sony have commented any further on this case.