New Study Finds Belgium’s Loot Box Ban Is Barely Enforced
Posted On August 5, 2022
Back in 2018, the Belgium Gambling Commission found that loot boxes were a form of gambling and recommended criminal prosecution against developers and publishers who implement them in their games. However, a new study found that Belgium’s ban is functionally not enforced.
As reported by GamesIndustry.biz, a study from loot box scholar Leon Y. Xiao found that the law has been unevenly and ineffectively implemented. The study claims that 82% of the highest-grossing iPhone titles in Belgium have loot box implementation. It goes on to claim that the ban gives parents and policymakers a “false sense of security.” In addition, the study emphasizes that the technical measures undertaken to prevent loot box purchasing in Belgium are easily circumvented by savvy players. Xiao concludes with recommending a less strict, but more thoughtfully enforced, policy.
Belgian’s policy did cause some broad changes in the country. After discussions with Belgian authorities, EA removed virtual currency from FIFA titles in the country. Nintendo ceased support for Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes to prevent prosecution or regulation. However, Xiao’s study argues that the ban allowed “non-compliant games to replace games that have been removed from the national market by more socially responsible companies.”
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Author: Grace Benfell