Do you want to see loot boxes banned?
The Netherlands has become one of the first countries to enforce a ban on video game loot boxes. Fines will now be handed out to game developers who continue the practice; one which many believe is a form of gambling.
In a statement released yesterday, The Dutch Gaming Authority stated that games in breach of their new law have until today (June 20th) to make ‘necessary changes’ to avoid the next the phase of enforcement.
The decision to ban loot boxes came earlier this year, with the classification of loot boxes as gambling. Many big name titles such as FIFA, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Dota 2, will be affected.
Big Changes for Publishers
Though video game publishers have been told to make sufficient adjustments to their games; it isn’t likely that select companies will follow suit – at first.
The fines will amount to £729,600, or a portion of the worldwide turnover. Big name publishers, Electronic Arts (EA) reportedly made more than $1bn in 2017 alone. This could mean tougher incentives to stop need to be in place before big companies abide by the rules.
Currently, only the Netherlands and Belgium consider loot boxes as a form of gambling. The United States and the UK both agree otherwise; that they do not fall under any current gambling law.
EA also agrees with this, recently claiming that loot boxes or packs on their FIFA Ultimate Team game mode are not gambling. CEO Andrew Wilson disclosed in an investor call:
We have been working with all the industry associations globally and with regulators in various jurisdictions and territories, [and] have established that programs like FIFA Ultimate Team are not gambling.”
Perhaps it won’t be too long until we see healthy fines dished out to game publishers, then.