The latest patch for FIFA 21 is reported to have code that would allow EA to disable Ultimate Team in some countries or regions that have strict gambling laws. Of course, EA isn’t looking to block Ultimate team in these areas soon, the studio is still preparing to potentially enable the feature.
FUT Watch found the code for a pop-up message in the latest patch, stating “FIFA Ultimate Team is currently not accessible due to a demand from the authorities of your region.” EA’s history with local gambling authorities and lawmakers, in both North America and Europe, hasn’t been good. During this year, a class-action lawsuit was filed against EA in California, similar to the one filed in Canada. A district court in the Netherlands allowed a fine over EA’s loot boxes to go forward.
EA has been compliant in some regions, by not offering FIFA points for sale. For instance, in Belgium, the company removed the game’s virtual currency after the country cracked down on loot boxes. FIFA 21 players in Belgium can still play Ultimate Team, but can only purchase players and other content through the use of in-game coins.
Based on the message found in the patch, EA might be trying to block the mode entirely, rather than adjust the game in regions that are restricting their microtransactions. This is the extreme end of the spectrum, but could be EA’s easiest way to deal with this issue.