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Loot Boxes Are Gambling According To Belgium, Major Win For Gamers

Star Wars Battlefront II.dronepicr/Flickr

Loot boxes and microtransactions have been the bane of many gamers’ lives since they started gaining popularity. The recent backlash against EA’s decision to nickel and dime players with Battlefront II was the final straw and the community finally started pushing back. Now, gamers have gained an ally in Belgium since the country’s officials have classified loot boxes as gambling.

First reported by VTM News and then getting picked up by PC Gamer, the Belgian Gaming Commission has concluded its investigations and decided that loot boxes are the same as gambling. Roughly speaking, it would seem that the commission equated the mixing of addiction and money as gambling, which can have a lot of interpretations.

In the case of loot boxes, the act of buying and opening them has been known to take advantage of the brains reward system in order to foster a greater need for people to spend more money. Basically, when they don’t get the item they need from the loot boxes, they feel compelled to get another one in case they finally get lucky. When applied to children, the effects can be particularly problematic.

As Gizmodo notes, this decision could have potentially huge ramifications for the video game industry as a whole. The Belgian authorities’ classification of loot boxes as gambling could also be applied to microtransactions, depending on how it is interpreted. This could then lead to some major changes in how video game giants conduct their businesses.

Microtransactions and loot boxes have become such a common sight in the video game industry now that practically all major developers and publishers are involved in it in some way. Blizzard helped popularize the concept with Overwatch, which was then picked up by EA and Take-Two.

If Belgium’s decision should catch on to other EU nations or the rest of the world, it could result in a major shakeup. This is especially significant since many have long surrendered to a future that is dominated by microtransactions and loot boxes.

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