Not a long time ago, governments all over the world have started frowning upon loot boxes in video games. Players need to make in-game transactions if they want a chance at some exclusive items that might be hidden in these boxes. Now, governments have started regarding them as gambling, and Belgium was the first country to declare them illegal.
Belgium declared war on loot boxes
On April 25th, the Belgian government ruled video game loot boxes as illegal, and urged game developers to remove them from their titles. If they don’t do it, they are susceptible to fines and, in more extreme cases, to a jail sentence.
Koen Greens, the Belgian minister of justice, explained why they were so much against loot boxes. They said these types of in-game microtransactions violated the current legislation on games. Therefore, those who would publish games without removing these boxes might receive fines going up to 800,000 euros.
Is this the end of in-game microtransactions?
This controversy revolving around loot boxes started with the release of Star Wars: Battlefront 2. Afterwards, the Gaming Commission in Belgium decided to review these items, and established they were actually a form of gambling. These items might lead to profit gain or loss, and they are also related more to chance than to actual gaming skills.
As a result, they banned the boxes. This can bring fines to plenty of games that use this system. Among them, there is the popular Overwatch, FIFA 18, but also Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The game that brought this matter to the public has already decided to give up on the items.
Belgium seems not to be alone in this, as the Netherlands also declared some loot box systems resembled gambling. Therefore, they urged game developers and publishers to make these items less enticing and addictive. Some of the games also allowed players to sell the loot box goodies, which made the situation even more serious.
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