Developers of popular games such as PUBG, Overwatch, and Star Wars: Battlefront II could face fines or worse in the EU.
Loot boxes are essentially chests that contain items such as weapons, armor, accessories or vanity items like skins. These boxes can either be earned in-game through experience, currency or purchased offline with money. Players have no control over what is inside the box. There's a chance for items that will help game performance. Where the conflict comes in is loot boxes' game model being similar to gambling, which can make gambling accessible to youth. Countries like Germany, Belgium and Netherlands are considering taking action to prevent the pay-2-win, loot box gaming models because it violates their policies on gambling.
The University of Hamburg conducted research that found pay-2-win game models are very similar to gambling. The chairman of the Youth Protection Commission, Wolfgang Kreißig, said: "I think it is conceivable that Loot boxes could violate the ban on buying appeals to children and adolescents,"which violates the Youth Protection Act.
Belgium's De Standaard reports that the Belgian Gaming Commission is specifically investigating Overwatch, Star Wars: Battlefront II, FIFA 2018 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive for "evidence of illegal games of chance smuggled in the games." In order to for a game to be considered to be illegal, the game must meet four conditions: it has to be a game, with a certain commitment, that leads to a profit or loss for the player and where chance plays. Competent minister Koen Geens (CD & V) developers can be fined up to 800,000 euros and five years in prison if they don't remove loot boxes from games.