As if problems with adverse player reactions about Star Wars Battlefront II loot boxes weren’t enough, Electronic Arts have also been under the investigation of authorities. It was the Belgium Gaming Commission that revealed last week they will look into the gambling aspect of the game’s microtransactions. Earlier today, they published their ruling and concluded that there is an element of gambling related to Battlefront II’s loot boxes.
“We believe that this is a mixture of addiction and money which can be described as gambling. Its combination with gaming particularly worries us because of its possible effect on the mental health of the children,” said Justice Koen Geens, Minister of Justice in the Belgian government.
The goal of this gaming authority will be to ban this type of in-game purchases throughout Europe.
“That won’t be an easy process, and it will take time. Our next move is to take this question to the European Union and discuss it with other countries. We would like these transactions banned on the entire continent.”
It’s the TYPE of Microtransactions That Matters
The vital thing to clarify here is that the Belgian Gaming Commission doesn’t have anything against in-game purchases per se. However, the reason it decided to investigate the issue is the random factor related to microtransactions. The problem occurs when the users are not buying specific items or packs, but the chance decides what they get. That means that even investing real cash won’t necessarily get you what you are after, which leads to feeling frustrated or putting in even more money.
The players should probably thank the authority for gathering the courage to tackle the issue. We have been witnessing the rise in microtransactions and loot boxes for years now as more games didn’t settle just for the default price of the product. Some would argue that the gaming companies even got a bit greedy lately, which is why a sign that they won’t be able to do as they please should be treated as a positive development.
We might also argue that all this is a moot point at the moment because Electronic Arts temporarily suspended microtransactions from their Star Wars BFII game. However, this will influence the form in which the in-game purchases will be back. It’s hard to believe that EA would risk returning the chance factor. If anything, it may attract more negative publicity, let alone the possible lawsuits in Europe.