Austrian Court Rules Against PlayStation/EA In Loot Box Case, Orders Refunds
An Austrian court has ruled against both PlayStation and EA in the ongoing loot box case, ordering the former to offer refunds.
The district court of Hermagor, Austria, has classified the controversial loot box as “illegal gambling” and has ordered PlayStation Europe to refund payments amounting to €338.26. The FIFA Ultimate Team packs are to be classified as “gambling games that require a license”.
As per the court, content included in purchased FIFA packs is based on the game of chance, and, therefore, represents a ” financial benefit within the meaning of the Austrian Gaming Act”, as the digital football stars are traded in a secondary market. This makes it possible to make a profit off of them. Since Sony Interactive Entertainment does not have a gambling license, the contracts concluded between the company and the plaintiff are void.
FIFA Ultimate Team Packs are “licensable games of chance,” according to the court. At this time, the decision is not final because Sony has the right to appeal. Because the purchase agreements were made through the PlayStation Store, the console manufacturer rather than Electronic Arts as was anticipated, was sued.
The Austrian court held that the content included in purchased FIFA packs is based on chance and, therefore, constitute a “financial benefit within the meaning of the Austrian Gambling Act” because they can be sold on a secondary market and a profit can be made in this way.
Because Sony has the option of appealing, the decision is not yet final. As the purchase agreements were made through the PlayStation Store, the console manufacturer rather than EA, is the entity that has been sued. Given that the verdict was ruled in a local Austrian court, it will likely have to go through EU courts. It remains to be seen how PlayStation and EA will tackle this situation in the long run, should it have far-reaching consequences.