It looks like EA is preparing for a potential eventuality where it has to block access to FIFA Ultimate Team in certain regions.
A recent FIFA patch has reportedly added code that would allow EA to disable Ultimate Team altogether in some countries/regions.
FUT Watch dug up code for a pop-up message, seemingly added in the latest patch, that reads, “FIFA Ultimate Team is currently not accessible due to a demand from the authorities of your region.”
This doesn’t necessarily mean that EA is gearing up to block Ultimate Team in some countries, but the publisher is at least preparing for that eventuality, should it ever become necessary.
EA, of course, has had bouts with local gabling authorities and lawmakers in multiple European countries, to say nothing of legal battles in the US, Canada and a number of other places.
The company remained compliant with local laws by simply not offering FIFA Points for sale, as is the case in Belgium. Players in Belgium can still access Ultimate Team, but they’re only able to buy players using the in-game currency, not the paid option.
So far, that has been enough to get authorities off EA’s back, but more and more countries are starting to tighten their restrictions. More recently, EA was charged with a €10 million fine in The Netherlands over FIFA Ultimate Team player packs (loot boxes). Though the publisher will challenge the ruling, it’s losing ground by the day.
Should EA be asked to take out loot boxes in other places, the company may opt to disable access to Ultimate Team altogether. We’ve asked EA for comment and will update this story when we hear back.