In the past few years, governments have been cracking down on loot boxes in video games. These countries are arguing that loot boxes are a form of gambling that is aimed at children, and many gamers agree. Normally when a government tries to regulate video games, the government doesn’t really understand what they are doing. This time, gamers are agreeing with the politicians: loot boxes need to go.
In case you don’t know what loot boxes are, they are items that gamers pay real cash for in order to have a chance at getting specific items. These loot boxes go by a variety of names in different games, but they are all the same. Sometimes they are called chests, crates, packs, or some other unique name the game developers came up with. No matter what they are called, loot boxes serve one purpose: entice gamers into purchasing them in order to make more profit.
The similarities between real life gambling and video game loot boxes is pretty apparent. For example, if you buy a loot box, you will always receive something in return, but it may not be what you want. The odds of getting the rarest items are sometimes so high, it will take thousands of loot boxes before you will get your desired item.
Many countries have already began legislation to make loot boxes illegal, and the Netherlands is next on that list. Kansspelautoriteit, the game authority in the Netherlands recently released their thoughts and ideas about loot boxes. The Dutch organization determined that four out of 10 video games were operating illegal gambling operations according to the Netherlands’s Betting and Gambling Act.
Only specific games were considered illegal. Games that provided a method to sell in-game items and also had loot box mechanics were deemed illegal. Only 2 out of the 10 games had adult only ratings, showing how far the gaming industry will go to make money, even targeting children.
Many other European countries are making an effort to ban or regulate video game loot boxes. Netherlands is the latest to announce such plans but Germany, Belgium and more have already began efforts to do away with loot boxes.