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.

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.

3 Readers Commented

Join discussion
  1. Fuckyolootboxes on August 29, 2018

    Oh gee a government that actually cares about its consumers. Wish the US and Canada would do the same. But who am I kidding.

  2. Ricky on August 28, 2018

    They’re surprised because it makes zero sense… Why allow pokemon cards to be purchasable in stores by kids which is also a gamble yet not allow loot boxes in games. I’m sure blizzard would love to use this argument but since they have hearthstone they won’t.

    • Cloak on August 29, 2018

      “Gambling is defined as “the wagering of money or something of value (referred to as “the stakes”) on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods.”

      People may refer to trading in stocks as gambling, but this is not correct. When you put your money in, you get a unit of stock. You are purchasing a unit of the company that has value. The value may go up or down, but this is not gambling, it is investing.

      The same is true when you buy a pack of Pokemon cards. The primary purpose of buying expansion booster packs is to increase your collection or get new cards to play in the game. Each card has a value, even if the aftermarket value of all the cards together is not as high as the retail price of the pack. You are purchasing cards that have value, and therefore it is not gambling.

      Even if you WERE purchasing packs for the express purpose of reselling the cards, you are still not gambling. You are purchasing something and reselling it. Sometimes you will make money on a pack, sometimes you won’t, but does it make sense why this is not gambling? Almost all retail companies are doing exactly this. Most items they make money on, but some items they take a loss.

      Just because the chances are higher that you won’t end up with more value in single cards than the average price you pay per card doesn’t mean you are gambling.”

      Source:
      https://www.quora.com/Why-is-Pok%C3%A9mon-card-collecting-not-considered-gambling-when-the-pack-of-cards-one-purchases-is-a-game-of-chance

HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY?