You may have heard, but in the wake of all the loot boxes that have been plaguing the games industry as of late, certain governments around the world have decided that it’s time to step in and start investigating: specifically, if loot boxes constitute some sort of “gambling system”. Now, the ESRB has already decided against that idea, but the ESRB ultimately doesn’t hold much power to enforce that decision… but Belgium’s Gaming Commission certainly does. And if Belgium decides that loot boxes are, indeed, a form of gambling, then everyone from EA to Blizzard is at risk of suffering huge fines for not labeling it as such.
But hey, you know who’s coming to EA’s defense? EA. Talking to Gamespot:
"Creating a fair and fun game experience is of critical importance to EA. 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."
The thrust of their argument is in that last sentence: unlike a lottery ticket or a spin of the roulette, you’re always guaranteed to get something out of a loot box, even if it’s not something you want. People who argue it is gaming, however, could argue that loot boxes rely on the same predatory psychology behind a scratch-off ticket to entice people to spend more time with the game, or spend money on it.
I’ll let you decide which you believe. Although personally, I’m in favor of anything that gets rid of Loot Boxes, so…