Blizzard Entertainment has announced on their forums that they will be removing the ability to purchase loot boxes with real money in Overwatch and the ability to purchase loot chests with real money & gems from Heroes of the Storm in Belgium.
Late last year and in the midst of the Star Wars Battlefront II loot box issues, Belgium’s gambling regulators announced that they were investigating Battlefront II and Overwatch for their implementation of paid loot box systems. The Belgian Gaming Commission later published an informative note [Dutch] where they recommended that games with loot boxes should perhaps have some kind of indication that such an item distribution system is a game of chance. However, they had not yet made a definitive ruling at the time, choosing to meet with industry representatives to work out a solution before penning any definitive legislation.
“No matter what, we want to make sure that our players around the world have the best entertainment experience possible.” —Blizzard Entertainment
One way or another, these actions have led Blizzard Entertainment to make the decision that they will be removing the ability to purchase loot boxes with real money and/or gems in both Overwatch and Heroes of Storm within the country of Belgium.
That doesn’t mean that Belgian players will no longer be able to access cosmetic content in these games once this policy is implemented by the Irvine-based video game developer. Belgian players will still be able to earn loot chests through normal gameplay the same as any other regular player; they just won’t be able to buy loot boxes with cash. Blizzard has stated that they will continue their dialogue with the relevant Belgian authorities towards finding a workable solution that is within the bounds of the law.
This isn’t the first time that Blizzard Entertainment has altered their loot box system due to local laws. Overwatch changed to a system of buying a nominal amount of currency and gaining “free” loot boxes in China in June of 2017 in response to local regulations.
What do you think of Blizz removing paid loot boxes from Belgium for Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm? What do you think is a workable solution for everyone moving forward? Let us know in the comments below!More About This Game