Loot Boxes Are Made Illegal
Who likes loot boxes anyway right? Grind your favourite modern titles for hours on end, earning small amounts of in-game currency per match or kill, only to find that loot box you saved up for holds complete junk. We’ve all been there.
But some games like FIFA 18 and their Ultimate Team Packs, CounterStrike: Global Offensive and their gun skins, Overwatch and Battlefront II before they were removed allowed played to use real cash to buy these in-game boxes which made it even worse opening them to find useless items.
To some though, this is seen as gambling, and have actually been banned in certain countries, with Belgium being the latest to deem them illegal under their gambling laws. But this has to involve real money transactions. In-game currency earned through playing and spent on these boxes is not gambling because real world money is not involved (except of time of game purchase).
This means that people under the age of 18 are not allowed by law to purchase these boxes, the same way that minors aren’t allowed to play online casino games.
Its still unclear whether or not these systems will be removed in the country or whether this will have a worldwide knock on effect, but I for one think its a good thing. For publishers caught however, they could face a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to 800,000 euros.
Belgium seem to be pretty hot on the subjust right now with Minister of Justice Koen Geens stating; “Mixing games and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for mental health. We have already taken numerous measures to protect both minors and adults against the influence of, among other things, gambling advertising. That is why we must also ensure that children and adults are not confronted with games of chance when they are looking for fun in a video game. ”
Peter Naessens, who is the director of the Gaming Commission says; “Paying loot boxes are not an innocent part of video games that present themselves as games of skill. Players are tempted and misled, and none of the protective measures for gambling is applied. Now that it is clear that children and vulnerable people in particular are exposed to them unprotected, game manufacturers but also parties such as FIFA, for example, are called upon to call a halt to this practice. “