Loot boxes - what are your thoughts on them overall? And today, these mechanics were struck another blow, this time in the Netherlands.
A recent study of loot boxes in 10 videogames by the Netherlands Gaming Authority has concluded that four of them are in violation of the country's gambling laws and must be changed. Loot boxes, also known as loot crates, are purchasable in-game items that contain further items, some of which could be of great value and help to players, while others could only represent simple customization options. "Players can earn money if they get a rare item". "The in-game goods differ and have different market values if they can be traded".
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As a result, these games violate the rules of chance per the gaming commission (thanks, Stolkie1971).
"To date, the Netherlands Gaming Authority has not observed any suitable control measures taken by the providers of games with loot boxes to exclude vulnerable groups and prevent gambling addiction".
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Although the report did not mention the specific games under investigation, Dutch news agency NOS has fingered them as Dota 2, Federation Internationale de Football Association 18, PUBG and Rocket League. Not even a week after the game was on store shelves, a bunch of politicians were looking into whether or not the loot boxes contained within the game were a form of gambling, something that has led to multiple conclusions since. These titles were found to be in compliance with gambling laws; however, the Gaming Authority was still critical over how these were implemented. The NGA adds that it has "not yet received any signals" that players are getting addicted to loot boxes on a large scale but also acknowledges that the "risk potential" from opening loot boxes is between moderate and high. "They could later become gambling addicts sooner".
The Netherlands aren't the only European country now investigating these matters either.
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"They are designed as gambling games are designed, with the feeling that you have nearly won", said Marja Appelman, director of the Gaming Authority. Like it or not, in-game purchases are likely here to stay, and it's up to regulatory bodies throughout the video game playing world to protect their consumers from these behaviors.
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