And so it begins.
Eurogamer is reporting that the Dutch Gaming Authority has declared that loot boxes in Dota 2, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Rocket League, and FIFA 18 are gambling and their developers must acquire gambling licenses to continue to operate in the Netherlands. In particular, those games must remove “addiction-sensitive” elements and “almost-winning” effects by June 20, after which it may “instigate enforcement action” against those games.
Officially, the four games in question were not revealed by the Authority; instead, the list was uncovered by a Dutch news outlet. The Authority examined 10 games and, while it only brought the hammer down on those four, it did state that “all of the loot boxes that were studied could be addictive.” Eurogamer speculates that “the 10 most popular games on Twitch” were examined. If that’s the case, one wonders how games like Hearthstone, Overwatch, and League of Legends avoided sanctions.
It’s unclear exactly how those games will change in the Dutch marketplace. They don’t need to make “hard” changes, like limiting sales or publishing odds. Rather, it sounds like they’re just need to modify how their loot boxes are presented, which could be open to interpretation. We’ll check back in June 20 to see exactly what’s been done.