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Report - Sony fails to appeal Austrian loot box verdict

PlayStation obligated to refund some FIFA Ultimate Team packs after ruling that they constitute illegal gambling becomes final

An Austrian court's ruling that FIFA Ultimate Team packs constitute illegal gambling is going unchallenged, according to German site GamesMarkt.

Earlier this year, an Austrian district court ruled on a dispute between a number of PlayStation FIFA players and Sony Interactive Entertainment Network Europe Ltd., saying the PlayStation maker owed the players a refund on Ultimate Team packs they purchased from the PlayStation Store because the ability to sell player cards on a secondary market qualifies them as illegal gambling.

According to a Google translation of the site's reporting, the regional court to which the case would have been appealed said it had not received any such motion from Sony's representatives, so the ruling became final last month.

Sony is now on the hook to refund several hundred euros to the plaintiffs, but Austrian legal firm Padronus has said it has hundreds of other players interested in pursuing similar claims.

Padronus' website specifies FIFA, Counter-Strike, Fortnite and Call of Duty as examples of games for which it will pursue claims.

Representatives with Sony and EA did not return requests for comment.

In 2020, a Netherlands court fined EA €10 million after deciding that Ultimate Team violated gambling laws, but that decision was overturned last year by the country's highest administrative court.

You can read more about the implications of the Netherlands ruling in this analysis by a Dutch gaming lawyer, and get a more general overview of loot box legislation efforts globally from loot box researcher Leon Y. Xiao.

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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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