Blizzard Entertainment today confirmed they intend to comply with Belgian law and removed paid loot boxes from their games.
Back in April, the Belgian Gaming Commission declared that loot boxes do indeed count as gambling. A few weeks later, the Belgian government singled out EA, Activision Blizzard, and Valve Corporation for criminal prosecution over the issue. After months of discussions, Blizzard Entertainment is finally making some changes.
In a post on the Blizzard forums, the studio confirmed they would comply with Belgian law and remove paid loot boxes. The games affected by this decision include Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm. While you can still earn loot boxes through normal play, you’ll no longer be able to purchase them. Blizzard made no mention of setting up a store for Belgian players to buy the content they want directly, which means they’ll still need to rely on luck to collect everything.
The Great Loot Box Controversy kicked into high-gear last November with Star Wars Battlefront II, which relied on microtransactions and loot boxes to power its progression system. Famously called a “Star Wars themed casino” by Hawaii state rep. Chris Lee, Battlefront II began a worldwide crusade against the practice. Nearly a year later, some countries are still looking into the issue. Some publishers and developers have backed away from the practice, but others continue to use them. Don’t expect this issue to go away.