Belgium Investigating Star Wars Battlefront 2 For Gambling, EA Claims Innocence
The narrative around the Star Wars Battlefront 2 lootbox controversy took another interesting turn today. The Belgian government has opened an investigation against Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard over loot boxes.
On November 15th when the Belgian Gaming Commission announced it had launched an investigation to determine if loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Overwatch constituted gambling. Companies who offer "games of chance" are required to obtain a permit before they can operate in Belgium. Both Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts currently lack the required permit.
If there is a game of chance, it is not possible without a permit from the Gaming Commission.
- Belgian Gaming Commission director Peter Naessens
The Internet, and reddit in particular, have been in an uproar since the loot box and locked content mechanics in Battleront 2 were revealed. To summarize, favorite characters like Luke and Darth Vader must either be purchased or unlocked via a tedious grind. While this may sound familiar to free to player gamers, Battlefront 2 is a $60 retail title, and even those who purchase more expensive editions will not have those characters unlocked.
The drama started 4 days ago when an official EA account left a comment on a reddit post titled: Seriously? I paid 80$ to have Vader locked? That EA comment has since become to the most downvoted in reddit history. The line that caused the ire is below.
The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.
Electronics Arts has since done a reddit AmA and lowered the time it takes to unlock heroes by 75% to try and resolve the uproar. So far, to little effect.
Further Reading: PCGamesN Story on Belgian Investigation