Belgium takes action
The Belgium Gaming Commission are now labeling loot boxes in video games ‘illegal’ after a legal battle with game developers and their use of loot boxes in video games.
Ever since Star Wars Battlefront 2 sparked controversy last year for its use of microtransactions which prompted a host of investigations and legal challenges from politicians and gamers alike and it seems Belgium has taken it a step forward by implementing criminal penalties for video game developers; Belgium’s minister of justice Koen Geens requested the investigation shortly after Battlefront 2’s release and has now lead to a decision being made.
Game developers can now face up to five years in prison and a €800,000 ($975,000) fine if gambling themes (determined by 4 parameters explained here) are found in video games. Games already considered and at risk of this penalty are Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, FIFA 18 and Overwatch; Battlefront 2 has since been cleared after the recent loot box changes made in the game. Belgium has also stated if minors are involved in the gambling the fine is doubled (a whopping €1.6 million). No mention of an alternative method being used has occurred but we can expect this will cause a ban on select games in Belgium.
Gambling is a major issue across the world; A study in the past few years have found nearly half a million children in the UK are gambling while 25,000 of them are ‘problem gamblers’ which led to a nationwide crackdown by British prime minister Theresa May via PSA. In the USA 2-3% of the population has a gambling addiction which equates to 6 million people while youth gambling is labeled ‘growing’. Video games are a popular form of entertainment amongst the youth and gambling is definitely present in some AAA titles but what do you think of the ban? Let us know in the comments.
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