Following an investigation it launched recently, the Belgian Gaming Commission has declared that loot boxes in games such as Overwatch are a form of gambling.
This is coming hot on the heels when gamers were outraged by how Electronic Arts treated Star Wars Battlefront II and microtransactions.
Crackdown On Gambling In Gaming
Going by that definition, it applies to the loot-box system employed in most games, where players have to pay a fee to get a chance to get rare and valuable in-game items.
"Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child," Koen Geens, Minister of Justice of Belgium, said.
Moving forward, Geens intends to reach out to the European Union in a bid to ban this mode of gambling in games.
EA Flipped The Switch
A lot of developers and publishers have found microtransactions to be a more lucrative source of profits compared with the traditional method of launching a full game that doesn't feature purchasable perks and additional content outside expansions and DLCs. This is evidenced by the numerous mobile games with a pay-to-win model.
While certain games such as Overwatch use microtransactions for cosmetic purposes only, others have pushed the envelope by locking away gameplay-affecting content behind payments or tedious effort, which is arguably done on purpose to encourage players to pay to get such items or features more easily.
This has been going on for some time already, but gamers apparently have had enough with EA and Star Wars Battlefront II. After the user backlash, the company decided to disable microtransactions in the game, but it's only a temporary thing.
Another outcome that came from the hubbub is when EA updated Need for Speed: Payback by making it easier to progress in the game than before, which goes to show that the people's voices are being heard.
As a result of the debacle, online gaming communities are also keeping an eye out for other companies that might attempt to make microtransactions pronounced in their games.
One example of this is when gamers got worried about CD Projekt Red's comments regarding Cyberpunk 2077 in which the company's CEO Adam Kiciński said it'll have a "certain online element" to guarantee its "long-term success."
The issue has been cleared up now, with Polish video game developer saying that the upcoming RPG will have no "hidden catch" and that it "leaves the greed for others," which has been taken as a shot at EA.