Blizzard has removed paid loot boxes from Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm in Belgium.
The move follows the Belgian authorities’ conclusion that loot boxes in some games amount to gambling, as we reported. In a forum post, Blizzard said: “In April 2018, the Belgian Gaming Commission published a report that was endorsed by the Belgian Ministry of Justice in which they concluded that paid loot boxes in Overwatch are considered gambling under local law. While we at Blizzard were surprised by this conclusion and do not share the same opinion, we have decided to comply with their interpretation of Belgian law. As a result, we have no choice but to implement measures that will prevent Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm players located in Belgium from purchasing in-game loot boxes and loot chests with real money and gems.”
Blizzard confirmed that Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm players will still be able to earn loot boxes via gameplay – they just won’t be able to pay real money for them. Blizzard’s move marks a further tightening of the net, on mainland Europe at least, against paid-for loot boxes. Valve, for example, has removed CS: GO and Dota 2 marketplaces in Holland, and Electronic Arts (in the wake of several loot box controversies, most notably involving Star Wars: Battlefront II) has announced that Battlefield V will be free of loot boxes. Those who see loot boxes in paid-for games as a bad thing will feel that the tide is turning.