Players in Belgium will no longer be able to purchase loot boxes in Blizzard Entertainment’s massive online shooter, Overwatch.
The Belgian Gaming Commission filed a report that would ultimately be backed by the Belgian Ministry of Justice stating that the in-game item is considered gambling.
Although Blizzard and many others in the game industry are not of the same impression, the company will ultimately close the ability to purchase loot boxes in the country.
According to Games Industry, the BGC made several recommendations on how to address the issue of loot boxes that includes “developing specific permits for video games that feature loot boxes, and marking them accordingly,” alongside the idea of age verification when purchasing such games coinciding with a ban on minors being able to buy the games. In addition, it was suggested that the algorithms, drop rates, and other data be published for the in-game items.
This is just one of many possible cases that could make its way up the pipeline over the next year as gaming becomes more mainstream.
You can find Blizzard’s full statement below.
“In April 2018, the Belgian Gaming Commission published a report that was endorsed by the Belgian Ministry of Justice in which they concluded that paid loot boxes in Overwatch are considered gambling under local law. While we at Blizzard were surprised by this conclusion and do not share the same opinion, we have decided to comply with their interpretation of Belgian law. As a result, we have no choice but to implement measures that will prevent Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm players located in Belgium from purchasing in-game loot boxes and loot chests with real money and gems.
No matter what, we want to make sure that our players around the world have the best entertainment experience possible. While players in Belgium will no longer be able to purchase paid loot boxes in Overwatch and loot chests in Heroes of the Storm, they’ll still be able to earn them by playing the games, and they’ll still have access to all in-game content.
These measures will be implemented shortly. We also remain open to further discussions with the Belgian Gaming Commission and Ministry of Justice on this topic.”