Someone’s in trouble…
EA isn’t only getting a lot of flak over Battlefront II’s loot crates, it’s also under investigation from Belgium’s gambling authority. According to VTM Nieuws, the country’s gaming commission is in the midst of taking a closer look at both Battlefront II and Overwatch, since add-on boxes that have to be purchased before you can see what’s inside might constitute gambling. As Commission chairman Peter Naessens points out, random loot boxes are a game of chance.
Authorities are especially concerned over the fact that the games are marketed towards children. Naessens says kids could feel forced to spend a lot of money under social pressure. EA made earning heroes easier after facing backlash, but players might still end up spending serious money on the game — according to a computation by Star Wars Gaming, it will take at least 4,528 hours of gameplay or $2,100 to unlock all its base content.
We reached out to Blizzard to find out the developer’s stance on the investigation. In a statement provided to GameSpot, EA made its position clear and insisted that Battlefront II’s loot crate mechanics aren’t gambling:
“Creating a fair and fun game experience is of critical importance to EA. The crate mechanics of Star Wars Battlefront II are not gambling. A player’s ability to succeed in the game is not dependent on purchasing crates. Players can also earn crates through playing the game and not spending any money at all. Once obtained, players are always guaranteed to receive content that can be used in game.”
If Belgium’s gaming authorities decide that loot boxes constitute gambling, EA and Overwatch will have to secure a special permit if they want to continue making those games accessible in the country.