In a very sudden development on the hot-button topic of 'loot boxes' and gambling in video games, the Belgium Gaming Commission has completed their investigation on the matter and have concluded that in-game 'loot boxes' are a form of gambling, and will likely be banned in Belgium. This could entail hundreds of thousands of Euros in fines towards Electronic Arts and other offending companies, as well as a ban on sales of games with loot boxes until companies acquire a gambling license or remove the feature from their games. What's more, Belgium is seeking to classify loot boxes as gambling across the entirety of Europe. Currently, the Dutch Gambling Authority has launched a similar investigation.
The Belgium Gaming Commission's statement roughly read, "The mixing of money and addiction is gambling." Belgium's Minister of Justice also chimed in, saying, "Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child."
Following quickly after, and in a highly unexpected move, Hawaii House of Representatives rep. Chris Lee (D) held a press conference where he announced that the State of Hawaii would be introducing legislation to curb the "predatory behavior" of companies like Electronic Arts. He explicitly mentions Battlefront 2, calling it a "Star Wars-themed online casino, designed to lure kids into spending money." Highlights from that press conference can be seen here:
Lee said that new legislation in the coming year will target predatory microtransaction practices and that Hawaii would be speaking with other states to introduce similar legislation elsewhere in the United States. Parents also took the podium at the press conference to express their own concerns about loot boxes and microtransactions. Lee later wrote a Reddit post explaining the announcement, which can be read in its entirety by following this link. In the post, he calls on US citizens to contact their state legislatures and demand action against predatory microtransaction practices in the gaming industry.
The speed at which regulatory bodies are reacting to the loot box controversy is astounding. These developments come in the wake of EA's botched microtransaction scheme in Star Wars: Battlefront II that led to a Reddit post by an EA representative becoming the most downvoted comment in the website's history, prompting Disney to intervene and garnering mainstream media coverage on popular news outlets like CNN. This spells trouble not just for EA, but for all major publishers, including Activision-Blizzard, Ubisoft, 2K Games, and any other company engaging in 'loot box' practices and predatory microtransaction schemes.
Oh, how the tides turn.
Last edited by HaloEliteLegend,