Add another pair to the list of countries that are examining the legality of loot boxes in video games. According to a translation of an article from website Sverige Radio, Swedish Minister of Civil Affairs Ardalan Shekarabi may lead the charge to classify loot boxes as a lottery in 2019. The practices of games such as Star Wars: Battlefront II, FIFA Ultimate Team, and Middle-earth: Shadow of War, are all cited in various other articles announcing the minister’s intentions.
Meanwhile, over in Germany, a study by the University of Hamburg that states that the way loot boxes earn income is “a typical feature of gambling markets” has found its way into the halls of government. According to the German newspaper site Welt, and summarized by GamesIndustry.biz in English, Chairman of the Youth Protection Commission Wolfgang Kreißig stated that it was “conceivable” that loot boxes are already illegal. A decision regarding their outright banning will apparently come in March.
Sweden and Germany join their European neighbors Belgium and the UK as countries that are taking a closer look at loot boxes, while efforts in America are already underway. If loot boxes do get banned, whether in Europe, the U.S., or elsewhere, we’ve got an idea of how that landscape would look, too, and what developers might have to do to their cash shops to compensate.