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Thread: Belgium decides video game loot boxes are illegal gambling

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    Belgium decides video game loot boxes are illegal gambling

    Decision follows a similar one taken by the Netherlands last week.
    Read more.

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    Re: Belgium decides video game loot boxes are illegal gambling

    All the other nations are like, "ffs guys, we really cant be bothered to regulate this... couldn't have just kept quiet could you"

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    Re: Belgium decides video game loot boxes are illegal gambling

    Well it is true. Gambling shouldn't be defined by whether or not it can be cashed out, but rather the act itself and the psychological exploitation behind it. Though I don't know what this means for overwatch in Belgium or even card games which have been well accepted. Companies pushing the boundaries with what they can get away with really shook up the hornets nest.

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    Re: Belgium decides video game loot boxes are illegal gambling

    While not every game can ever be as big as it, just look at something like God of War for how to do a game right. Care and attention has gone into it, the developer clearly wants to give the player something, rather than take something from them. If loot boxes were to disappear completely today, the only people who would miss them, in any form, would be the money makers.

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    Re: Belgium decides video game loot boxes are illegal gambling

    Honestly I think it's about time someone stood up against loot boxes, it is literally gambling at the end of the day and it is in most countries regulated. Children aren't allowed to gamble, so why should it be deemed acceptable to be in games where children are often the ones who 'want all the shiny stuff' the quickest.

    Mind you considering how many 'gambling' adverts we get on tv in the UK I can't see them doing much here sadly.

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    Re: Belgium decides video game loot boxes are illegal gambling

    Rocket League seems to be staying under the radar, whilst their loot crates only offer cosmetic items which I personally don't mind, it is still gambling, you might be trying to get a new goal celebration only to keep getting skins for cars you don't own....

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    Re: Belgium decides video game loot boxes are illegal gambling

    Random drops are fine. When you have to pay for something that gives you a random drop, that's gambling.
    Microtransactions for items are also fine, even play effecting things/pay to win (legally).

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    Re: Belgium decides video game loot boxes are illegal gambling

    Now this is a slippery slope....based on that, Hearthstone should be on that list soon and then all "random packs of cards" you buy in stores should also come under the ruling.....

    /em grabs popcorn
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    Re: Belgium decides video game loot boxes are illegal gambling

    Quote Originally Posted by shaithis View Post
    then all "random packs of cards" you buy in stores should also come under the ruling.....
    Not so much when you think about it, random pack of cards bought in store can be traded with other people who buy said pack of cards (not saying the odds are great in them but you get the idea), most online loot can't be traded so it's basically spending money in the 'hope' of getting a 'win' which is the premise of gambling.

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    Re: Belgium decides video game loot boxes are illegal gambling

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilCycle View Post
    Rocket League seems to be staying under the radar, whilst their loot crates only offer cosmetic items which I personally don't mind, it is still gambling, you might be trying to get a new goal celebration only to keep getting skins for cars you don't own....
    Is this any different to Overwatch, which has been included in the review?

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    Re: Belgium decides video game loot boxes are illegal gambling

    Will Hatchimals get banned?

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    Re: Belgium decides video game loot boxes are illegal gambling

    Quote Originally Posted by LSG501 View Post
    Not so much when you think about it, random pack of cards bought in store can be traded with other people who buy said pack of cards (not saying the odds are great in them but you get the idea), most online loot can't be traded so it's basically spending money in the 'hope' of getting a 'win' which is the premise of gambling.
    Actually, I thought the opposite. You can sell rare cards for money and therefore make money on your original purchase. CS:GO skins are almost exactly that. I even remember with football stickers "shineys" being worth more in trading.

    I would still be interested in how and where they draw the line at Loot bxoes being "bought". For example, I play Star Trek Online and you can buy "keys" to open the loot boxes either via the premium currency bought with cash, or with in game money. Just to further muddy the waters, you can earn the premium currency (slowly) in game as well via an intermediate currency. I imagine that is how publishers would get around any legal rulings.

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    Re: Belgium decides video game loot boxes are illegal gambling

    Quote Originally Posted by LSG501 View Post
    Honestly I think it's about time someone stood up against loot boxes, it is literally gambling at the end of the day and it is in most countries regulated. Children aren't allowed to gamble, so why should it be deemed acceptable to be in games where children are often the ones who 'want all the shiny stuff' the quickest.

    Mind you considering how many 'gambling' adverts we get on tv in the UK I can't see them doing much here sadly.
    gambling is so engraved in the UK that one can't see the woods for the trees. Damages society on so many levels...not just children but adults too

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    Re: Belgium decides video game loot boxes are illegal gambling

    Quote Originally Posted by Gerrard View Post
    Actually, I thought the opposite. You can sell rare cards for money and therefore make money on your original purchase. CS:GO skins are almost exactly that. I even remember with football stickers "shineys" being worth more in trading.
    You said it yourself.... trading and to be fair I have no real issue with trading stuff, it teaches children about value/worth of stuff with 'better' usually costing more etc, assuming they're not being conned by 'adults'.

    I would still be interested in how and where they draw the line at Loot bxoes being "bought". For example, I play Star Trek Online and you can buy "keys" to open the loot boxes either via the premium currency bought with cash, or with in game money. Just to further muddy the waters, you can earn the premium currency (slowly) in game as well via an intermediate currency. I imagine that is how publishers would get around any legal rulings.
    I've played several games where you 'pay to speed things up', you know what you're paying for and while paying to unlock a 'loot box' might be a grey area, paying to get an exact item quicker isn't going to be an issue.

    However I play a game called warframe, it doesn't have loot boxes as such, but it does have rivens which are basically multi layer rng generated 'booster' cards for weapons. They drop in game and you can reroll them with an ingame resource called kuva but there are so many layers of rng on it that unless you luck into a good roll it's likely as bad if not worse than a loot box. In a lot of cases these are sold via trade for ludicrous values so players can become 'addicted' to trying to roll a 'god riven' which can command ludicrous values of plat.

    The thing that makes that muddy though is that you can actually trade stuff to get the platinum to buy something else (obviously someone needs to buy it...pyramid scheme much lol). So like you say there needs to be some clear 'guidelines' on what is and is not lootbox gambling.

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    Re: Belgium decides video game loot boxes are illegal gambling

    Quote Originally Posted by FRISH View Post
    Gambling shouldn't be defined by whether or not it can be cashed out, but rather the act itself and the psychological exploitation behind it.
    While I agree with the last part, the former part is where I disagree with the UK decision. Everything can be "cashed out", you can always sell the account to someone else. So there is a clear "cash out" availability, it just seems that those who regulate don't wish to either acknowledge the problem, or delve too deep into the well established markets available for this to occur.

    Just because a game publisher doesn't make it available within the game itself, doesn't mean that ability isn't there. I do wonder if they even know how to use Google search sometimes, it isn't really hard to find occurrences of this happening, including for games like Overwatch etc.

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    Re: Belgium decides video game loot boxes are illegal gambling

    Quote Originally Posted by shaithis View Post
    Now this is a slippery slope....based on that, Hearthstone should be on that list soon and then all "random packs of cards" you buy in stores should also come under the ruling.....

    /em grabs popcorn

    This is already the case in China - they solved it by changing the process so that you buy a small amount of dust and receive the card pack free. Then it's not gambling by the letter of the law.

    It is a difficult one to call though as to whether a ban of this kind is good or not. I only really have a problem with loot crates when it's truly "Pay to Win", but before loot boxes were prevalent we've had paid for unlocks which are much, much worse - typically in EA games where you could pay to basically skip leveling up your character and instantly gain access to top tier weapons/Armour etc. Even the much respected Blizzard are guilty of this kind of paid for boost in WoW with character boosts, WoW tokens etc, and neither of those introductions were good for the game. As much as I want rid of the gambling factor from paid for loot crates, I don't want to return to the bad days of straight up PTW without the dilution effect of loot crates...

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