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Belgium's gambling authority investigating Overwatch and Star Wars Battlefront II loot boxes

Belgium's gambling authority investigating Overwatch and Star Wars Battlefront II loot boxes

The gambling authority of Belgium is looking into the implementation of loot crates in games such as Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Overwatch.

According to VTM Nieuws, authorities are concerned about the fact that these kinds of games are aimed at kids, with children potentially being pressured to spend money in the game. Its Chairman points out that loot boxes are a game of chance. 

As reported by GameSpot, EA says it feels that these loot box mechanics are not gambling.

"Creating a fair and fun game experience is of critical importance to EA," the publisher said.

"The crate mechanics of Star Wars Battlefront II are not gambling. A player's ability to succeed in the game is not dependent on purchasing crates. Players can also earn crates through playing the game and not spending any money at all. Once obtained, players are always guaranteed to receive content that can be used in game."

Blizzard's Mike Morhaime has said that he feels Overwatch does not belong in this loot crate conversation.

The UK Government, as well as the country's age rating board and its American counterpart ESRB have been made aware of the controversy; both boards say that whether this is gambling or not is to be decided by separate gambling commissions, while the UK Government insists there is already clear guidance on the matter.

EA has come under severe fire for the implementation of loot crates and progression systems in Star Wars Battlefront 2. The publisher has had to make changes twice to how this is applied in the game, even going so far as to reduce the cost of some hero characters in the game by some 75 per cent after its justification for the system became Reddit's most downvoted comment ever


Editor - PC Games Insider

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he was hired to launch PCGamesInsider.biz for Steel Media before departing the firm in October 2019.

He has also written for GamesIndustry.biz, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.

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