We are counting hours to the release of Star Wars Battlefront II, but the new game by Electronic Arts is not enjoying positive marketing at the moment. Fans around the world didn’t welcome the announcement of microtransactions and particularly the explanation that EA offered. More bad news is coming from Belgium because their gambling authority announced that they would be launching an investigation that will determine whether there is an element of gambling that comes with the game’s loot boxes.
The Belgian Gaming Commission is in charge of all games of chance occurring in that nation. According to their definition, “these are games that may lead to people losing big money if they become addicted and they differ greatly from any other economic service.” The whole problem is the fact that loot boxes have a random factor involved. Add to that the fact that their content might improve the gaming experience, which might lead gamers from purchasing more crates and spending more money just because they want to win.
“Our institution needs to issue a permit for all games of chance on our territory,” said Peter Naessens from the Belgian Gaming Commission.
Blizzard’s Overwatch Also Under Investigation
The rumors that Electronic Arts might end up paying a hefty fine confirm the fact that this is far from being a joke. Other reports also speculate that Star Wars Battlefront II might be banned from selling in Belgium until the problem is resolved. EA officials have not said anything on the topic, but they are not happy about the issue.
Perhaps they can find some consolation in the fact that another developer is in the same trouble with the Belgian gambling authority. Blizzard is also under the investigation because of loot crates offered in Overwatch. However, the company believes that they shouldn’t be a part of the controversy.
“Our boxes only offer cosmetic changes, and they don’t affect the gameplay. That is why we believe there is no place for discussing the issue when it comes to Overwatch,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO of Blizzard.
Unlike the Belgian Gaming Commision, the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) believes that there is no gambling related to this system.
“The random factor is present, but the player always wins some in-game content, even though it might not be the one they desired. It’s the similar principle like when you are opening a sticker pack: sometimes you will get the one that you miss to collect the set, but other times you will just receive a bunch of duplicates,” said a spokesperson from ESRB.