Star Wars Battlefront II & Overwatch Being Investigated By Belgian Gambling Regulators

Published: November 16, 2017 11:00 AM /


Overwatch Star Wars Battlefront II Gambling

Star Wars Battlefront II and Overwatch are both under investigation by the Belgian Gaming Commission regarding loot box practices and potential classification as gambling as reported by PC Gamer.

Following recent controversy with the loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront II, Belgium's gambling regulators are investigating Electronic Arts' newest game as well as Activision Blizzard's Overwatch. The BGC decides what is and isn't classified as gambling within the country, and the randomization of loot rewards in the two games may fall under the purview depending on a number of different factors.

EA has dialed back the costs of loot in Battlefront II following a wave of negative feedback from the community and gaming press, and Overwatch had re-tooled its loot box rewards earlier this year. Although both games do have randomized loot box systems, Star Wars Battlefront II contains items used in actual gameplay and Overwatch has purely cosmetic items with no effect on gameplay whatsoever.

While loot boxes can be earned through normal gameplay, you can also spend money to get your hands on some loot (whether it's cosmetic or otherwise). That's where the problem exists, says Gaming Commission director Peter Naessans. You're spending money for a reward that's dependent on chance, and the BGC is now looking into whether or not this should be classified as gambling under Belgian law.

Despite the concerns of Belgian gambling regulators, the ESRB & PEGI had decided that loot boxes don't count as gambling as the player always recieves an item. Even so, gambling regulators are the organizations whose word carries the force of law, and the games' T ratings (or equivalent) make this an especially tricky proposition for regulators to figure out. If the regulators decide that these games are indeed engaging as gambling under the law, they could face hundreds of thousands of Euros in fines and they'll run the risk of being similarly classified in other nations.

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One of my earliest memories is playing Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System. I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I… More about Robert N