Belgium’s Gaming Commission deems videogame loot boxes a form of gambling, US Politician labels the practice “predatory”
Belgium’s Gaming Commission recently announced it was looking into whether the current trend of loot boxes appearing in AAA games such as Overwatch and Star Wars Battlefront II could be considered a form of gambling, and now the results of that investigation are in.
While this is no doubt welcome news for those who would like to see the growing presence of paid loot boxes in full-price games come to an end, the Commission’s findings still have to go through the European Union and any blanket ban would almost certainly be challenged by the gaming industry’s biggest publishers.
That being said, many of the heavy hitters will no doubt want to avoid the situation EA have ended up in, who not only had to remove the paid element of Battlefront II’s controversial loot box system following player and press outrage, but have now seemingly incurred the wrath of US politicians.
Hawaii State Representative, Chris Lee, yesterday labelled the presence of loot boxes in games a “predatory practice”, and called for legislation to be introduced that changes the way they are sold in games.
“This game is a Star Wars-themed online casino designed to lure kids into spending money. It's a trap.” He said, channeling Admiral Ackbar. “And this is something we need to address to ensure that particularly kids who are underage, who are not psychologically and emotionally mature enough to be able to gamble [...] are protected from being trapped into these cycles,” he continued.
“We're looking at legislation this coming year which could prohibit access or sale of these games to folks who are underage in order to protect families, as well as prohibiting different kinds of mechanisms in those games.”
It’s not only Hawaii looking into taking such action, apparently, with Chris Lee confirming that he has been talking with “several other” US states and legislators about addressing the loot box issue before it becomes “the norm for every new game.”
You can catch the highlights from the press release detailing Lee’s stance on Battlefront II’s controversial loot box system in the video below.
Is this the beginning of the end for loot boxes in AAA games? Let us know your thoughts on the situation below.