Belgium Plans Loot Box Ban and US Democrat says Star Wars Battlefront 2 is 'Casino for Kids'

Written by Jon Sutton on Wed, Nov 22, 2017 11:29 AM
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The loot crate controversy has kicked up another gear, with both the Belgium Gaming Commission launching an investigation into whether loot boxes constitute gambling, and US legislator from Hawaii calling out the “predatory practices” of loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront 2 and other online games.

We’ll start with Belgium, where the Gaming Commission has classified loot boxes as gambling and called for them to banned through Europe. "The mixing of money and addiction is gambling," said the Gaming Commission. "It will require time because we need to go to Europe with this. We will absolutely try to forbid it."

The Minister for Justice, Koen Geens, also said "Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child." The Gaming Commission’s opposition is specifically targeted towards blind boxes rather than in-game purchases in general, although it’s unclear whether they’re also concerned about games that specifically target adults also.

Independently of this, Democrat politician Chris Lee, Hawaii State Representative and Chairman of the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee has called Star Wars Battlefront 2 a “Star Wars-theme online casino designed to lure kids” with “predatory practices”.

"We're here today to ensure future protections for kids, youth and everyone when it comes to the spread of predatory practices in online gaming, and the significant financial consequences it can have - and has been having - on families around this nation," said Lee.

"This game is a Star Wars-themed online casino designed to lure kids into spreading money; it's a trap. This is something we need to address to ensure that particularly kids who are underage, who are not psychologically and emotionally mature enough to be able to gamble - which is why gambling is prohibited under 21 - are protected from being trapped into these cycles which have compelled many folks to spend thousands of dollars in gaming fees online.”

It’s not a good look for Disney in particular, a company which prides itself on catering to children. Lee is looking to take legal action and potential call for a ban of loot crates. "We're looking at legislation this coming year which could prohibit the sale of these games to folks who are underage in order to protect families, as well as prohibiting different kinds of mechanisms in those games. We've been talking with several other states as well - legislators there who are looking at the same thing. This is the appropriate time to make sure these issues are addressed before this becomes the new norm for every game."

Fellow Democrat Sean Quinlan also stepped up to the plate, likening the Battlefront loot boxes to old advertising that used to encourage kids to smoke.

"One of the things that's really disturbing about this, to me, is this was previously a business practice that was mostly seen in the mobile gaming market and now it's moved into the main event," said Quinlan

"This is a triple-A title that's been released by the world's largest gaming studio, and it has the most popular intellectual property in the world attached to it, and it's marketed squarely at children.

"Some of you folks who are older may remember a character called Joe Camel. He's not around anymore. We didn't allow Joe Camel to encourage your kids to smoke cigarettes and we shouldn't allow Star Wars to encourage your kids to gamble."

While Star Wars Battlefront 2 is the main target, it’s certainly not alone in its practices. Frustration just so happened to boil over for this particular game, but the likes of Valve actively have means to profit and loss from its CSGO, Team Fortress 2 and DOTA 2 microtransactions. Right now Disney is probably fuming though, particularly when one of its licenses is described as a casino for kids. It's going to be intriguing to see how this controversy rumbles on and what actual changes ccome about because of it.

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00:21 Nov-23-2017

Proud to live in Belgium, hope other counties join so this BS with lootboxes ends soon.

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17:53 Nov-22-2017

here itsthe original article its in dutch use google to translate or see my blog: Source (in Dutch) https://nieuws.vtm.be/vtm-nieuws/binnenland/geens-wil-gokken-games-verbieden
the house od card is falling guys other AAA company will follow falling

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21:48 Nov-22-2017

Uit de rekken halen zullen ze niet doen alleszins, dat is allemaal op te lossen met een update aangezien het toch online is.

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16:51 Nov-22-2017

"most popular intellectual property in the world" in the US* i don't believe star wars have that big of a fan base outside US i don't like the new movies from it myself they are just nostalgic and not for me!

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16:56 Nov-22-2017

back to the topic i just can't imagine loot boxes getting banned if u want to ban loot boxes and say it's gambeling then u have to ban most of the successful mobile studios games like Supercell? King? hell almost every free mobile game?

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20:16 Nov-22-2017

Well, in the ideal situation, yes - you have to ban all of these listed mobile games. Might sound impossible, but this is the main goal at the end.

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11:19 Nov-23-2017

Dude starwars is global.. the US isn't everything, y'know. Loads of fans in europe and beyond.

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16:51 Nov-23-2017

Right, in terms of entertainment Star Wars is right up there as one of the most popular around the world. Still some way short of Pokemon though, which is sort of mind blowing.

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21:49 Nov-23-2017

The main difference is that:
1) Those games you mention are free to play, also pay to win, but f2p after all.
2) The chest there can be obtainable for free just by playing and theres an actual system that say X boxes each Y battles/matches.
3) There are daily cards(Clash Royal) where you spec card, so no random loot

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15:26 Nov-22-2017

Guess there won't be a Battlefront 3.... HA!

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14:18 Nov-22-2017

Simply adding 18+ will solve the problem? Since adults can get what they want.


Also how do you remove loot boxes from f2p games?

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14:40 Nov-22-2017

Maybe because unlocking content through playing is more fun? And 18+ is just a recommendation.

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15:34 Nov-22-2017

Am against this loot boxes too, it was just a question. How will f2p games make money if they remove loot boxes? I don't think many of the f2p games will survive without micro transactions

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15:37 Nov-22-2017

Well mine was just an answer :D

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16:52 Nov-22-2017

Also they f2p games can survive through ads, of course they will NOT make as much money, but lets be honest most f2p games aren't expensive to develop to begin with.

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06:23 Nov-23-2017

They can do what LoL has done ever since it came out, cosmetic microtransactions.

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15:09 Nov-23-2017

I think its easy. The plan its to forbid the loot boxes, not to forbid microtransactions. I'll explain myself.


There is two different ways of getting things in one of these kind of games:
1.-Buy and hope to get something cool in a randomized loot box.
2.-To buy directly the item you want (Like skins in LoL and so).


I would bet that governments only want to target the first type of microtransaction, at least in my opinion.
Im not a fan of microtransactions either.

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15:34 Nov-23-2017

I think that cosmetic micro-transactions are just as bad as content micro-transactions, IF you can NOT unlock them through gameplay and NOT through a paid OR free-in-game currency. Gameplay like challenges, achievements, progression, events and so on.


And yes loot boxes are a bigger problem, actually the biggest problem.

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08:47 Nov-23-2017

On mobile all games will get their head chopped off. because playstore and app store don't allow 18+ content ;D
And physical stores can't put 18+ games in their store.

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14:07 Nov-22-2017

This can be easily bypassed, cdpr is selling scraps instead of kegs in China, if you buy small amount of scraps they gift you free kegs (loot boxes). EA & Ubisoft will sell Mico dlc instead of loot boxes. Ubisoft is already doing this in AC

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06:31 Nov-23-2017

Yes, there's always a loop hole to be exploited. However, it's not like lawmakers are stupid, if you can obtain lootboxes by paying, even if it's a "gift"; then it can be considered gambling, and an unlawful act.

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13:23 Nov-22-2017

"The wicked shall not go unpunished"

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13:15 Nov-22-2017

Wait, is this justice?

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14:17 Nov-22-2017

I think it's actually called social justice

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15:18 Nov-22-2017

The last time I heard about social justice, we got 76 new genders

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17:04 Nov-22-2017

no those are just a fraction of the words in the LGBTTQQIAAP++ initialism there's clearly more genders than that!
and the last time i heard about social justice half of the hollyweed male stars was sexual harassers!

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09:20 Nov-23-2017

I do hope you know that my comment wasn't a jab at social justice, despite the puppets on strings responding. Campaigning against gambling, addiction, its impact on those who are poorest, and the marketing towards kids is a campaign for social justice :) You've all done well.

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15:11 Nov-23-2017

I am hoping so.

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12:56 Nov-22-2017

Now the question remains. How would EA react?

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13:15 Nov-22-2017

More dlc's to compensate the loot boxes

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06:32 Nov-23-2017

Yea, disc-locked content for sure.

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12:33 Nov-22-2017

The greatest thing that came from Belgium since Eden Hazard!

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14:07 Nov-22-2017

That's a strange way to spell Thomas Vermaelen

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15:22 Nov-22-2017

Kinda weird name for Eden's Servant dont you think? That should be Kevin de Bruyne

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05:40 Nov-23-2017

You mean the guy who was worse than Joey Barton, in Moronho's last season at Chelski ?

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15:12 Nov-23-2017

That hilarious irony XD

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12:30 Nov-22-2017

my personal view on this is that cosmetic loot boxes for money are okay because they dont affect the gameplay,like destiny 2 did,u can get ships,ghosts.and some skins for exotics and shaders for real money (u can get them free as well)....


but making weapons,armor or any other things that affect the gameplay or characker strenght in loot boxes should be banned from any game... that is the only reasson i didnt buy SWBF2 and im a huge SW fan

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13:01 Nov-22-2017

Why not just let the players buy the cosmetic item they want? Because there is more money to be taken if the cosmetic items are random...


Yeah, I don`t agree with loot boxes in any shape or form...

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15:01 Nov-22-2017

yeah i agree with loot-box being out of place in paid game but still if they ban it in all shape or form, then how the game like dota or league would survive

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15:03 Nov-22-2017

as they need constant flow of income to maintain server cost and updates other alternative like monthly subscription is not that popular now a days and it is

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15:05 Nov-22-2017

better for gamer like me who don't want to spend monthly subs fee to play a game. just giving my 2 cents

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16:41 Nov-22-2017

nice f2p games are a diffrent category,we are talking about games we already payed who have loot boxes,like SWBF2,Shadow of War etc

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13:03 Nov-22-2017

That's still a form of gambling. Why wouldn't you want to directly buy a skin or pack or whatever instead of purchasing tens of loot boxes in the hope you get what you want...

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20:35 Nov-22-2017

+1 totally agree with this point.

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14:54 Nov-22-2017

I dont know why people think locking content behind lootboxes is ok. Sure its only cosmetic but since when have i had to gamble to buy a shirt?

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12:21 Nov-22-2017

Weren't we just being lectured to by market analysts that we're overeating about this whole thing while being spoiled and undercharged children?

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12:17 Nov-22-2017

It's Inevitable, EA pushed microtransaction to the whole new level of BS. People Retaliated. They Draw too much attention, now governments are coming in and regulate the whole thing. It's not the best way out but there is no going back now.

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12:08 Nov-22-2017

i hate the whole loot crate thing. however, they do have their place. maybe some people want to have a gambling aspect to their games, so in that case they should be age restricted and clearly labelled as such, for parents.
with a bit of luck it might split the industry a bit. real, complete games on one side and fragmented, microtransaction riddled games on the other.
please excuse my clear bias :)


(edit) : my thoughts being that maybe the more profitable projects would end up on the former side of the split bringing focus back to those games.

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12:08 Nov-22-2017

I still have the Old version of Star wars battlefront 2 https://imgur.com/a/iXbxb
How can I update it to the new version :)


I am reorganizing my whole room and found my old game.

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12:28 Nov-22-2017

I swore to never buy another EA game after I haven't been able to play BF4 (connectivity issues with EA only) and got a refund for it. The Old Battlefront II is the only reason I'm doubting that decision today.

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12:58 Nov-22-2017

I still have the old star wars games: SW jedi knight jedi outcast, star wars galactic battlegrounds and clone campaigns, star wars empire at war 1 & 2, and also the old battlefront games. Now i'm searching a windows 7 gaming laptop!

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11:56 Nov-22-2017

Yay, lets make it global and ban every game with in-game purchases or any form of micro-transactions.

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12:43 Nov-22-2017

confirmed people just like to dislike my comments :D

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13:09 Nov-22-2017

no need to ban the games, just the loot boxes

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14:12 Nov-22-2017

How do you remove loot boxes from f2p games?

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14:41 Nov-22-2017

Make all the content unlockable by playing the game, maybe?

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18:16 Nov-22-2017

@psychoman - then how do the devs/pubs make money on f2p ?

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21:14 Nov-24-2017

well the f2p model sucks and I'm sure I'm NOT the only one who dislikes it... and they can make money through ads, F2P games are usually cheap to develop, unlike AAA games.

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11:41 Nov-22-2017

On the fence about this, on one end it's not really "gambling", but then again who knows these days. On the other hand it's the government controlling gaming. I'd hate to see alpha packs and crates in rocket league to disappear just because.

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11:49 Nov-22-2017

They will probably let you get them with ingame currency you can earn.

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12:13 Nov-22-2017

Imagining a world without alpha packs has made me really sad.

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11:32 Nov-22-2017

yeah they should definitely ban it

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