The outcry over the predatory nature of loot boxes has continued with Star Wars: Battlefront II, and while the U.S.-based ESRB has turned down the notion that loot box systems are a form of gambling, Belgium’s gambling authority may have something else to say. Per VTM News (via GameSpot), the Belgian Gaming Commission is investigating Battlefront II and even Overwatch concerning that very matter.
Director of the Belgian Gaming Commission Peter Naessens stated (via PCGamesN), “If there is a game of chance, it is not possible without a permit from the Gaming Commission.” If the commission’s investigation concludes that these loot systems are indeed that, Battlefront publisher EA and Overwatch publisher Blizzard Entertainment would pay fines that could reach up to “hundreds of thousands of Euros,” with the possibility of the games being removed from sale in the country if the publishers do not obtain a special permit.
While Blizzard, whose Overwatch loot boxes are purely for cosmetics, have not responded yet to the investigation, EA provided GameSpot with a statement:
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.
This all comes after continuing controversy over Battlefront II’s progression system. While the high number of credits (and as a result, necessary gameplay time) to obtain heroes such as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader were reduced by 75 percent, some number crunching from Star Wars Gaming resulted in an estimation that at least 4,528 hours of gameplay (or $2,100) is needed to unlock all of the game’s base content.
To address concerns, developers from Battlefront studio DICE held a Reddit AMA, but as one can imagine, the still-angry community did not take well to many of the answers and downvoted the developers into oblivion. Battlefront II will have its wide release on Friday, Nov. 17, but the $80 “Elite Trooper Deluxe Edition” is available for purchase now.