Belgium Loot Boxes
A Video Game 'Loot Box' Offers Coveted Rewards, but Is It Gambling? Von Now Belgium declares loot boxes gambling and therefore illegal. Officials in Belgium have determined that loot boxes violate the country's gambling laws and if publishers don't remove them from their games, they face jail time. Belgium bans "loot boxes" in games, and users applaud. In general, gaming companies tread a not-so-fine line between encouraging.
Belgium Loot BoxesEine Lootbox (auch als Loot Crate, Prize Crate oder Beutebox bekannt) ist ein virtueller Behälter in Computerspielen, der eine zufällige Sammlung bestimmter. Inability to purchase Loot Boxes as a Belgian player. located in Belgium from purchasing in-game loot boxes and loot chests with real money and gold. Another really well made video going into at least some of the problems lootboxes are bringing with them. How it affects design decisions.
Belgium Loot Boxes Are loot boxes a new thing? Video2K Games Begs Customers To Tell Belgium They Want Loot Boxes
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YouTube Instagram Adobe. Kickstarter Tumblr Art Club. The combined loot-box and micro-transaction systems, all elements of "pay to win" schemes, drew even more criticism.
Just hours before the game's official launch, EA and DICE temporarily disabled all micro-transaction purchases until they figured out a way to offer these systems in a favorable manner for consumers; DICE stated: "We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing, and tuning" before they are reintroduced.
Disney, knowing the franchise draws in younger players, feared the loot-box systems would contribute towards gambling behavior in children.
The player reaction to Battlefront 's loot-box system led to the Belgian Gambling Commission to evaluate the nature of loot boxes specifically in Battlefront.
In the United States, it generated legislative debates about a potential sales ban within Hawaii and some other US states. Analysts expect that EA will have to re-evaluate how they monetise games in the future to avoid similar backlashes, which may further reduce future revenues.
This, coupled with the removal of micro-transactions from the game while they readdressed the loot-box approach, led to the game missing EA's revenue projections for that quarter.
And we won't. Electronic Arts also published the FIFA series of association football games in annual installments, using the appearances and attributes of the real-world athletes in the teams on the league.
Part of more recent entries in the system include its "Ultimate Team" mode, where players can form their own teams by collecting "cards" of these players, which have been offered through virtual card packs that can be purchased with in-game currency or real-world funds Points currency.
While this is a similar mechanism to other games using loot box mechanics, the use here is criticised due to the fact that cards earned from one version of the game do not carry over into the next year's version.
Thus, players must work to regain a competitive team by re-earning in-game credits or spending more money by buying additional points, with the potential to continue that cycle each year.
Because of their use of random chance to gain items after committing real-world funds, games using loot boxes may be considered a form of gambling.
Games with loot-box systems have become subject to regulation in several Asian countries, while questions of the legality of loot boxes are under consideration in some Western ones.
In December , China's Ministry of Culture announced legislation which required "online game publishers" to publicly release from May onwards the "draw probability of all virtual items and services".
The law also banned game publishers from directly selling "lottery tickets" such as loot boxes. In June , Blizzard Entertainment announced that, "in line with the new laws and regulations", loot boxes in their game Overwatch would no longer be available for purchase in China.
Players would instead buy in-game currency and receive loot boxes as a "gift" for making the purchase. Effective November , China's General Administration of Press and Publication prohibited the sale of loot boxes to users under eight years of age and restricted their sale to older users under 18 years of age to a maximum monthly spending limit ranging from renminbi to renminbi.
This was done not by introducing any new legislation, but by issuing a legal opinion that virtual items could be considered "prizes" under existing legislation written in to prevent the complete gacha practice in the context of baseball trading cards.
Within a month of the opinion being issued, all major Japanese game publishers had removed complete gacha rules from their games, though many developers found ways around these rules.
In March , members of South Korea 's National Assembly , led by the Liberty Korea Party , proposed amendments to the country's existing games industry regulation that would require games companies to release "information on the type, composition ratio, and acquisition probability" of items granted by loot boxes.
In October , Singapore's parliament passed The Remote Gambling Act, which introduced a ban on unlicensed gambling websites and fines for anyone violating it.
The law's definition of gambling included staking "virtual credits, virtual coins, virtual tokens, virtual objects or any similar thing that is purchased In response to games industry lobbying home affairs minister S.
Iswaran clarified the law in parliament, stating that "the Bill does not intend to cover social games in which players do not play to acquire a chance of winning money and where the game design does not allow the player to convert in-game credits to money or real merchandise outside the game".
The minister also specifically excluded platforms which offered "virtual currencies which can be used to buy or redeem other entertainment products", such as Steam , from the provisions of the bill.
The fact is that the line between social gaming and gambling is increasingly becoming blurred. What may appear benign today can quickly morph into something a lot more sinister tomorrow in response to market opportunities and consumer trends.
That is why the legislation is cast broadly. Within Australia, games with loot boxes would fall under gambling restrictions if they can be played "for money or anything else of value"; the question remains if items that only exist within game have "value" that can be quantified, even if this is related to an item's prestige.
The commission has suggested "an immediate R rating " for any games which feature loot boxes as a solution to this limitation.
The investigation, which started in August , evaluated the use of loot boxes in video games and considered them under issues related to gambling and effects on children.
The Committee recommended that games with loot boxes be labeled to warn of parental guidance and indicate that they contain "in-game gambling content" and suggest that such games be rated to represent the legal gambling age in the country.
A February report from the Australian House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs that focused on Internet content that should be blocked behind age verification gates recommended that the Office of the eSafety Commissioner or similar body "report to the Australian government on options for restricting access to loot boxes and other simulated gambling elements in computer and video games to adults aged 18 years or over, including through the use of mandatory age verification".
By August , the Australian Classification Board had updated it regulations that games with any microtransaction, including loot boxes, must be labeled on its cover as containing "in-game purchases" as part of the ratings classification.
The Gambling Commission within the Department of Internal Affairs for New Zealand stated, in response to a citizen's email, that currently in their view "loot boxes do not meet the legal definition of gambling", but are reviewing the situation as it progresses.
In March , the UK's Gambling Commission issued a position paper "Virtual currencies, esports and social casino gaming".
In our view, the ability to convert in-game items into cash, or to trade them for other items of value , means they attain a real world value and become articles of money or money's worth.
Where facilities for gambling are offered using such items, a licence is required in exactly the same manner as would be expected in circumstances where somebody uses or receives casino chips as a method of payment for gambling, which can later be exchanged for cash.
In August , the commission opened an investigation into skin gambling. Miller further stated that even if other countries were to pass laws or regulate loot boxes, the Commission would still need to follow UK's laws.
In October , a month prior to the Battlefront II controversy, MP Daniel Zeichner of Cambridge, on behalf of a constituent, submitted a written parliamentary question "to ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport DCMS , what steps she plans to take to help protect vulnerable adults and children from illegal gambling, in-game gambling and loot boxes within computer games".
The government recognises the risks that come from increasing convergence between gambling and video games. The Gambling Commission is keeping this matter under review and will continue to monitor developments in the market.
Separately, over 10, UK citizens signed a petition requesting that the UK government "adapt gambling laws to include gambling in video games which targets children", which includes issues over loot boxes.
The response also referenced the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations law which, according to the response "includes a requirement on businesses not to subject anyone to misleading or aggressive marketing practices, or, for example, direct exhortation to buy products, such as games content, including in-game purchases such as loot boxes".
In March , MP Anna Turley of Redcar asked the government to "bring forward legislative proposals to regulate the game mechanics of loot boxes".
In response Minister of State MP Margot James said that "PEGI informs consumers purchasing products from major app stores if they contain further purchases and are considering the possibility of placing these notifications on boxed products", and that "regulators such as PEGI and the Gambling Commission are speaking to industry to ensure that those who purchase and play video games are informed and protected".
The Gambling Commission issued a report in November on the state of gambling and its effect on youth. While news outlets had stated that the Commission determined that loot boxes can be considered a gateway for youths to undertake gambling in other scenarios beyond video games,   the Commission clarified that they had not made any direct conclusion, and only found that about 3 in 10 children in the UK have opened loot boxes in games.
James said "Loot boxes are a means of people purchasing items, skins, to enhance their gaming experience, not through an expectation of an additional financial reward.
And also, more importantly, they can't be traded offline for money. So I think there are big differences, and I don't think really it is true to say loot boxes are gambling.
The Gambling Commission issued a statement in July that they cannot oversee the sale of loot boxes in most video games as there is no way to monetise the items within the loot box, a core distinction from gambling as written in current legislation.
The Commission did caution that there are third-party sites that enable the means to monetise loot box items, similar to skin gambling , but they are not in a position to monitor those sited, and urged companies like Valve to take better steps to prevent skin gambling monetisation.
In its final report, published 9 September , the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport recommended that the UK government take precautionary steps to prevent the sale of games containing loot boxes to minors, and to work with PEGI to make sure that games with loot boxes are labeled as having gambling mechanics.
Further, the report stated that "We consider loot boxes that can be bought with real-world money and do not reveal their contents in advance to be games of chance played for money's worth.
The report also agreed with the conclusions of the Gambling Commission that game publishes and developers must take more steps to limit the grey market of skin gambling.
The National Health Service director of mental health Claire Murdoch stated in January that the Service was incorporating concerns related to loot boxes and the mental health of youth into their Long Term Plan , but cautioned that "no company should be setting kids up for addiction by teaching them to gamble on the content of these loot boxes.
No firm should sell to children loot box games with this element of chance, so yes those sales should end.
In June , the Department of DCMS began requesting evidence from game companies related to loot boxes as part of a further investigation.
The report identified the ongoing issue of loot boxes, how they may be seen as gambling and their effect on the youth," and concluded that "Ministers should make regulations under section 6 6 of the Gambling Act specifying that loot boxes and any other similar games are games of chance, without waiting for the Government's wider review of the Gambling Act.
In February , the Isle of Man 's Gambling Supervision Commission updated their regulations to explicitly define virtual items as being "money's worth" even when not convertible into cash, explicitly bringing loot boxes under statutory regulation.
In April , the Dutch Gaming Authority issued a legal opinion that games which both sell loot boxes and permit the "transfer" of yielded items are illegal.
In its report "Study into loot boxes: A treasure or a burden? It concluded that while the loot-box systems in the six remaining games did not meet the threshold for legal action, they "nevertheless foster[ed] the development of addiction" and were "at odds" with the authority's objectives.
The authority gave the developers of the four unnamed games eight weeks to correct their loot-box system or face fines and potential bans on sales of the games in the Netherlands.
EA has planned to appeal this decision. The authority's investigation was opened following a parliamentary question tabled by MP Michiel van Nispen in November Announcing the investigation, the regulator warned of the "possible dangers" of "addiction and large financial expenses".
Following its April announcement, the Gaming Authority began to solicit other European Union countries to help harmonise their ruling on loot boxes among the Union.
In April , Psyonix disabled the ability for players in the Netherlands and Belgium to open loot crates with keys in Rocket League due to government regulations.
The Commission stated that for loot boxes in Overwatch , the action of opening a loot box is a game of chance to receive items of some perceived value to players, and there is no means to directly purchase in-game currency to obtain a specific item, while games like FIFA 18 merge reality and fantasy by using real-life athletes to promote the loot-box system.
In response to the announcement, several companies made their games with loot boxes unavailable to customers in Belgium with no financial recourse to customers who bought or paid for merchandise in the games:.
Electronic Arts' games FIFA 18 and FIFA 19 were also called out by the Commission; however, EA did not make any modifications to these games; EA had previously stated in May that it did not believe the implementation of loot boxes in their games constituted gambling.
Durain's letter stated his concerns that "some observers point to a convergence of the video game world and practices specific to gambling" in his request.
ARJEL noted that items from loot boxes do not normally have monetary value, and even when they are traded through skin gambling, the publisher of such games do not participate in that arena, thus distancing loot boxes from other forms of gambling.
The commission remained open on hearing complaints towards loot boxes on specific games, though have no legal authority to enact any fines or penalties should they be found to be against law.
While Coin Master does not use loot boxes, the game uses a gameplay mechanism that requires the player to play a virtual slot machine to advance in the game, with the opportunity to use items purchased with real-world funds to influence or bypass the slot machine to achieve desirable results, a model adapted by many other games and one that can encourage or trivialise excessive gambling.
If Coin Master had been blacklisted the BPjM may have opened the door for other games with similar monetisation routes to be reviewed.
Also in February , Ardalan Shekarabi , the Swedish Minister for Public Administration , stated that he was "ready to ask [the] authorities to take a closer look at the phenomenon of loot boxes and see if there is a need to change legislation in order to strengthen consumer protection.
In February Polish Ministry of Finance issued a statement saying that loot boxes are not gambling in the light of the Polish law, although it noted that they may well constitute gambling in other jurisdictions.
Polish law defines gambling very specifically, and the current definition is not applicable to loot boxes. A July report prepared on behalf of the European Parliament Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection IMCP , "Loot boxes in online games and their effect on consumers, in particular young consumers", was one of the first reports to reframe loot boxes as a matter of consumer protection rather than a gambling concern.
Loot boxes give random rewards and can be acquired either through gameplay or by spending real cash. Belgium's Minister of Justice, Koen Geens, was keen to focus on how children are confronted with loot boxes, calling the mix of gaming and gambling "dangerous for mental health".
According to the statement in Dutch , the punishments of a fine and prison sentence can be doubled "when minors are involved".
The Belgian decision is in contrast to the UK and US, who have both ruled the loot boxes do not contradict their gambling regulations. The BBC has contacted EA Sports for comment, but a spokesperson for the company told gaming news website GamesIndustry it would "welcome the dialogue with minister Geens" and denied that any of its games could be considered gambling.
Only Battlefront II was found not to be in violation of the law - after developer EA temporarily halted micro-transactions completely following negative feedback.
This criticism focused around a post by EA on community news site Reddit, which became the most downvoted in the site's history, when the company appeared to call micro-transactions a way to "provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes".
Listen to Newsbeat live at and weekdays - or listen back here. EA games: Loot boxes aren't gambling, they're just like a Kinder Egg. Video game loot boxes declared illegal under Belgium gambling laws.
If that does come into force in the UK, what would it actually mean for everyday gamers? Some loot boxes can also be won as rewards in a game, rather than being bought with real money.
Though these are still frowned upon by the Gaming Commission in Belgium they are allowed. When minors are involved, those punishments can be doubled, Geens added.
Belgium expressed a particular concern about the impact loot boxes have on young people. In fact, Geens requested the Belgian Gaming Commission investigated video game loot boxes after the Star Wars blow up.
So, what happens next? Geens wants a dialogue with video game publishers and developers to work out who's responsible for the removal of the loot boxes.
An EA spokesperson told Eurogamer the company "welcomes the dialogue" with Geens "as we do not agree that our games can be considered as any form of gambling".
Here's the statement in full:. We care deeply that our players are having a fun and fair experience in all of our games, and take great care to ensure each game is marketed responsibly, including in compliance with regional ratings standards.
We welcome the dialogue with Minister Geens on these topics, as we do not agree that our games can be considered as any form of gambling.
Whatever the outcome of these talks, it's clear Geens means business.Retrieved June 28, Retrieved July 28, Part of more recent entries in the system include its "Ultimate Team" mode, where players can form their own teams by collecting "cards" of these players, which have been offered through virtual card packs that can be purchased with in-game currency or real-world funds Points currency. Retrieved April 6, But the Belgium Gaming Commission has disagreed, instead focusing on whether the loot boxes constitute a "game of chance" - the use of a game element which involves Www 649 Results bet that can by chance lead to profit or loss. Blizzard Watch. The Spiel-In Casino Gmbh & Co. Kg Observer. Share this story Twitter Facebook. Retrieved April 13, The authority's investigation was opened Auxmoney Erfahrungen Forum a parliamentary question tabled by MP Michiel van Nispen in November Retrieved October 9, Kotaku Australia. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. Retrieved November 30,