01.022019The Law on Loot Boxes Could be Changing
Loot boxes have grown in popularity over the last few years and have become an easy way for video game publishers to make a lot of money from games they’ve already sold. However, the laws could be changing and regulators are taking action.
The gambling regulator in Belgium has just secured what could be a pivotal win in the battle against these loot boxes by forcing EA to remove them from FIFA games. The way these packs are offered to players is also set to change in other games, with Fortnite being one of the biggest games to initiate such a change by making all packs transparent.
It seems like the gambling regulators are winning this war, but are the publishers getting an unfair deal?
Are Loot Boxes Gambling?
As an outsider looking in, it’s easy to dismiss this as no big deal and even to suggest that loot boxes in video games couldn’t possibly be gambling, but anyone on the inside knows differently. These boxes are hugely popular with players, especially younger players, and they use them to get in-game clout, as well as a bunch of other in-game content.
It’s like having the latest pair of sneakers on the playground, only now it’s about the latest skin on Fortnite or the best player on FIFA. And there are a couple of issues with this: firstly, there is no telling what each box contains, so players can buy dozens or hundreds before they get what they want. Secondly, they are not cheap, and many players spend hundreds of Euros on what are otherwise free games.
Whether it’s gambling or not is a different story. On the one hand you could argue that it is gambling because they don’t know what they’re getting and are hoping for an outcome that may never come. On the other hand, they’re always getting something, and it could be compared to buying a pack of football stickers or Pokemon cards.
In the end, however, it doesn’t matter—the regulators have decided that it is gambling and they seem to be winning the war.
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