Belgium Looking To Classify Loot Boxes As Gambling
Loot boxes are already regulated in China, and thanks to the recent loot-box-o-rama in gaming, the same thing might be happening soon in Belgium.
According to PCGamer, which is getting its info from a translated Belgian news site, the Belgian Gaming Commission "is investigating whether Overwatch and Star Wars Battlefront 2 should be classified as gambling." If those games are considered to be gambling, then the results could cost their parent companies "hundreds of thousands of euros." And, it could be argued, such a step could be applied to any number of other games that offer randomized loot crates, like Guild Wars 2 or Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Eurogamer has even more on the topic, including that the Netherlands is also looking into the matter and the EA has predictably responded to the controversy to say that "The crate mechanics of Star Wars Battlefront 2 are not gambling."
First point I'd make is this: "Hundreds of thousands of euros" would be a pittance to games that, like Overwatch, sell tens of millions of copies. If the choice was "Pay one million euros (about $1.17 million USD) or you have to remove your loot boxes," most companies would ask, "Who can we make the check out to?"
So the actual "teeth" in this enforcement is pretty light, unless the second part of the enforcement -- that the games would be "removed from sale" -- comes into play. If such regulations extend beyond one or two small small countries, however ... that's when things could get messy.
About the Author
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.
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