Belgium’s Gaming Commission is investigating loot boxes in video games—in particular, of their use in Overwatch and Star Wars: Battlefront 2.
According to Belgian site VTM News the Gaming Commission is looking into whether or not loot boxes do indeed constitute gambling. The problem with loot boxes in these games is that you don’t know what you’re getting. “If there is a game of chance, it’s not possible without a permit from the Gaming Commission,” director Peter Naessens said.
The commission is particularly worried with regard to how the game is marketed toward children. Easily impressionable kids are likely to spend lots of money on games.
Should the commission deem Overwatch and Battlefront 2’s loot box systems as gambling, the developers may have to pay thousands of euros in fines, according to VTM News. The alternative is having the games pulled from shelves in the country.
China was the first country to legislate the sale of loot boxes. The country passed a law in December 2016 that requires game developers to publish drop percentages for items passed out in loot boxes.”Online game publishers shall publicly announce the random draw results by customers on notable places of official website or in game, and keep record for government inquiry,” the regulations state.
The ongoing loot box controversy was recently reignited by the release of Battlefront 2, which has attracted criticism from fans and critics alike. The game has a progression system that is unlockable through the game itself—but because of how long it takes, players are encouraged to speed up the process by buying crates.
With the controversy refusing to die down, EA dramatically cut some in-game purchase prices to try and satisfy angry players.