Loot Boxes With Real-World Value Ruled Unlawful In The Netherlands

Publishers have eight weeks to fix their loot box models or else face fines.

By c_rake, Posted 20 Apr 2018

Loot boxes have been subject to much controversy over the past several months. While the chatter around them has died down somewhat since Star Wars: Battlefront II sparked mass outrage, they still seem to be on the minds of government entities.

The latest country to take action on them is The Netherlands. Following an investigation of ten unnamed games, the Netherlands Gaming Authority (NGA) ruled that loot boxes containing items with real-world value outside of the game violate the country's Betting and Gaming Act. Through their investigation, they found that four of the ten games they examined were in violation.

While the group did not name what games they examined, rumors believe that games like Rocket League, FIFA 18, and Dota 2 were among them. The publishers of the offending games have reportedly been told to address their loot box model within the next eight weeks. If they fail to comply, the NGA could fine them or pull the games from store shelves.

Loot Boxes

The group states that games offering rewards with real-world value are amount to gambling and thus the publishers need to obtain a license if they wish to conduct such business.

"As a result of opening loot boxes," says the study, "socially vulnerable groups such as young people could eventually be encouraged to play other games of chance. The risk of gambling addiction in this group is many times higher than in adults." An English translation of the report can be read in the given link.

The gambling angle has been one of the primary sources of criticism since their inception. Though the ESRB states they do not believe loot boxes to be gambling, the group has done little to regulate them despite requests from US senators to self-regulate, prompting states like Hawaii and Washington to propose legislation. Said legislation hasn't moved forward since being introduced, but it's not hard to imagine them gaining traction should another mass outcry like Star Wars: Battlefront II happen again.

Callum Rakestraw, NoobFeed.

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Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher(s): LucasArts
Developer(s): Pandemic Studios
Genres: Action
Themes: Shooter
Release Date: 2005-10-30

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