Loot boxes may be going the way of the dodo in Belgium. The Belgian Gaming Commission has recommended criminal prosecution for all loot boxes that don’t adhere to their advice, as laid out in a 25-page report. Three of gaming’s biggest names have been mentioned in the report.
EA, Valve and Blizzard are in the commission’s crosshairs. The report, which you can read in full here, clamps down on Overwatch, FIFA 18 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for its “constitutive elements of gambling.” They don’t merely stop at giving the publishers a dressing down, however.
“Criminal prosecution should be undertaken” if the games examined (Overwatch, FIFA 18 and Counter-Strike) continue to offer loot boxes that fall foul of Belgium’s gaming laws. The wording of the report, which has been translated from Dutch, indicates that it is the publishers who will be liable. The developers may also be liable should loot boxes remain in their current form.
Much of the ire lays at the door of RNG. Simply put, not being able to see the odds of what you’re getting in a loot box may leave certain companies at the mercy of criminal action. While it’s unclear how many of the companies will respond, EA have issued a statement via conference call that spells in no uncertain terms their disapproval of such reports.
Ultimate Team, for example, isn’t going away – no matter how much the Belgium government persist. “We’re going to continue pushing forward,” indicates EA CEO during a conference call with industry analysts (via VentureBeat). That’s despite the report detailing FIFA 18’s loot boxes constituting a “wager” between game and gamer.
For now, though, it’s going to be a tough sell to market these games – at least in Belgium. The Belgian Gaming Commission has gone in with full force on loot boxes and, judging by its overall conclusion, do not intend to let up on what it considers illegal gambling. For the likes of FIFA 18 and Overwatch, the ball is now in their court moving forward.