Earlier today, Blizzard posted on the forums for Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch to say that paid loot boxes for both games will soon be disabled for gamers in Belgium. Players will still be able to earn the boxes through gameplay.
The measures are the result of Belgian Gaming Commission classifying certain loot boxes as illegal back in April. It’s worth noting that there’s no apparent evidence of a similar banning on the sale of Hearthstone packs in Belgium.
While I can understand reasons why people might be for and might be against government intervention of this magnitude, one part of Blizzard’s message leaves a bad taste in my, and probably others’, mouth. Specifically, when Blizzard says that it’s “surprised” by the conclusion that loot boxes were classified as gambling. That’s pure, unadulterated PR spin, meant to paint Blizzard as a poor, unsuspecting victim in all this. It’s similar to when Valve claimed that it didn’t “understand” why its loot boxes for Dota 2 were coming under scrutiny in The Netherlands.
I hope Blizzard, and other game companies, prepare themselves better, so as not to be so “surprised” in the future. Perhaps they should hire on fewer PR reps, and more lawyers, to help them better “understand” all these confusing and mean new laws.