Loot boxes have been a hot topic for a while and now we’re starting to see some concrete results after the long and severe controversy the games industry faced last year with Star Wars Battlefront II and another handful of titles.
Blizzard has indeed revealed that, with an upcoming update, it’ll remove the loot boxes and loot chests from Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm in Belgium, complying with the local law although remaining of the idea that those do not represent a form of gambling.
Here’s what the developer had to say on the matter:
“In April 2018, the Belgian Gaming Commission published a report that was endorsed by the Belgian Ministry of Justice in which they concluded that paid loot boxes in Overwatch are considered gambling under local law. While we at Blizzard were surprised by this conclusion and do not share the same opinion, we have decided to comply with their interpretation of Belgian law. As a result, we have no choice but to implement measures that will prevent Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm players located in Belgium from purchasing in-game loot boxes and loot chests with real money and gems.
No matter what, we want to make sure that our players around the world have the best entertainment experience possible. While players in Belgium will no longer be able to purchase paid loot boxes in Overwatch and loot chests in Heroes of the Storm, they’ll still be able to earn them by playing the games, and they’ll still have access to all in-game content.
These measures will be implemented shortly. We also remain open to further discussions with the Belgian Gaming Commission and Ministry of Justice on this topic.”
So, players in Belgium (and at this point all the other territories which will want to apply similar regulations) will still have the chance to get skins and all the other extra stuff by simply playing, but they won’t have the opportunity to pay for them.
Which is the way I’ve always played Overwatch, to be honest. Do you think this is the right way for the industry to deal with loot boxes? Let us know in the comments below.