Loot boxes and game publishers may soon be subject to further scrutiny from the EU

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Another name, why Diablo Immortal did not reach Belgium and the Netherlands

Diablo Immortal Currency Orb

This week’s global release of Diablo Immortal received a variety of reviews from critics. Our Matt Sholtz said he was particularly furious about how Activision Blizzard dressed up its esoteric loot box system and therefore wouldn’t release the game in Belgium and the Netherlands. I’m currently hearing about efforts to drop a legal ax on loot boxes across Europe.

If Blizzard didn’t know why they excluded these markets from Diablo’s launch, the company confirmed that it would press the retailers there ( Eurogamer) The decision was related to “the current operating environment of games in those countries”.

Belgian Game Rating and Administration He led a 2018 survey of games, especially for games such as Electronic Arts’ FIFA ’18, and discovered that loot boxes are in the form of illegal gambling. With the same result in the Netherlands, through court, authorities tracked EA through the loot box mechanism in the same game, and judicial authorities agreed that the company violated gambling law.However, the company has appealed and the National Supreme Court Overturned the ruling earlier this year.. What this ultimately means from an enforcement and market perspective has not yet been determined, but uncertainty remains for the foreseeable future.

However, efforts led by the Norwegian Consumer Council are not stopped by recommending legislative measures against loot boxes from the European Union as well as at the local and national levels.

Published a paper (English PDF) Pay to win or details of two case studies (one for FIFA ’22 and one for Raid: Shadow Legends). The legal framework suggests that we need to span as wide a geographic area as possible and work on game design guidelines for children.

This paper is co-sponsored by consumer organizations in 18 other European countries, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain (the largest economy on the continent).

Considering that loot boxes generated an estimated $ 15 billion in revenue for publishers in 2020, it costs a lot of money. Blizzard and its cohort could have a larger counterattack in mind if the EU begins to organize around this effort. Some of the union’s existing consumer protection laws have been evaluated and may be amended in the proposal in 2024.

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