Video game loot boxes are “in violation of the law in the game”, according to the Belgium Gaming Commission.
Loot boxes give rewards at random and can be acquired either through the game or by spending real money.
They must now be removed from video games in Belgium and the companies like EA, who publish the popular series Fifa, could now be subjected to the criminal law.
Non-compliance can lead to a fine of 800 000 euros (£697,000) and up to five years in prison for the editors.
In belgium, the Minister of Justice, Koen Geens, has been keen to focus on the way in which the children are confronted with, to plunder the boxes, by calling the mixture of game and game ‘ dangerous for mental health.”
According to the state (in Dutch), the penalties of fine and imprisonment may be doubled “when minors are involved”.
The Belgian decision, unlike the united KINGDOM and the usa, who have ruled the loot boxes do not conflict with their game rules.
The BBC has contacted EA Sports for comment, but a spokesman for the company told gaming news site GamesIndustry he would “welcome dialogue with the minister Geens” and has denied that one of its games could be considered gambling.
“We strongly believe that our games are developed and implemented in an ethical and legal throughout the world, and take these responsibilities very seriously,” he added.
What are loot boxes?
Players can unlock characters, equipment and vehicles in some games are using loot boxes, which can be purchased using real money.
Like loot boxes are random, people could spend £ 10 and get something useful, or to spend 100 € and get nothing useful at all – similar to how slot machines work.
They have become ubiquitous with a lot of mainstream video games, appearing in the securities, including Fortnite, PlayerUnknown’s battle fields and Rocket-propelled grenades in the League.
The Belgium Gaming Commission investigated four games: Fifa 18, Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Star Wars Battlefront II.
Only Battlefront II has been found not to be in violation of the law – after developer EA temporarily stopped the micro-transactions entirely the result of the negative feedback.
This criticism centered around a post by EA on the community news site Reddit, which became the most downvoted in the history of the site, when the company seemed to be called micro-transactions for a way to “provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking the different heroes”.
AMERICAN politician Chris Lee has condemned the use of loot the boxes of video games in November 2017.
He criticised the “predatory practices” of the developers, specifically targeting Battlefront II by calling it a “Star Wars-themed online casino, designed to attract the children in the spending of the money”.
The american authorities have decided that the games with the help of loot the boxes are not the game because the players do get some kind of reward when they acquire the boxes.
While in the UK, the Gambling Commission has taken a similar stance and said that the boxes did not come under his control, because the rewards are only usable in the game.
But the Belgium gambling Commission disagreed, instead focusing on whether the loot boxes constitute a “game of chance” – the use of one element of the game that involves a bet that may by chance lead to profits or losses.
He cited a series of problems with the way the loot boxes function, such as the use of the virtual currency, which can be purchased for real money, and the way in which some loot boxes to make the players think that they will win an advantage in spite of their random contents.
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“Taking advantage of the children
Mr Geens said that he would meet the members of the video game industry to discuss the next step.
It is not clear what this will be, if the report states that “the loot boxes must be removed” to come into compliance with the law in the game.
The movement has been widely praised online, more and more upvoted thread on Reddit news subreddit in April 2018 with one person calling it “brilliant” and praising it as a way “to avoid taking advantage of children, with fancy and shiny in-your-face computer graphics, and images”.
Another said that they “hoped more countries will take note”, but some have suggested that video game publishers may simply stop selling their games, in Belgium, quite.
Some people have been more critical of the decision, suggesting that “Pokemon and other trading cards” would be illegal under these rules.
But others have pointed out that Belgium, the Gaming Commission of the definition requires specifically that there was “an element of play” in the opening of the fund, differentiating them from loot boxes of trading cards.
During this time, a person who has been in favor of the decision entitled “fantastic” and suggested that “Belgium will have a sense of pride and accomplishment for taking such a wise decision”.
By Tom Gerken, UGC and Social News