Loot boxes count as gambling, says Belgium’s Gaming Commission.
Following an investigation, the Commission today ruled that loot boxes are gambling because they mix money and addiction.
As reported by PC Gamer, Belgium’s Minister of Justice Koen Geens said he intends to ban blind, randomised loot boxes completely.
“Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child,” Geens said.
According to Geens, Belgium will take its findings to the European Union.
Defenders of loot boxes usually cite rising game development costs or a games-as-service model as reasons for their inclusion, or play them off as an innocuous option that is easy to ignore.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War developer Monolith recently compared loot boxes to a difficulty setting: "It's putting more control in people's hands – saying, you know how you play best, you make that choice," said the studio.
However you feel about them, one thing is certain: loot boxes make huge amounts of money, so expect major pushback on this from bigger publishers.
Hawaii is getting in on the action, with Democratic State Representative Chris Lee announcing that the state of Hawaii is considering banning games like Star Wars: Battlefront II from being played by young children.
"This game is a Star Wars-themed online casino," Lee said.
"It's a trap."