Study Shows Belgium's Loot Boxes Ban Proved Ineffective

Over 80% of the highest-grossing iPhone games continue to generate revenue through a randomized monetization method.

In 2018, Belgium declared loot boxes in video games were a form of gambling and banned them, but a study shows this law isn't effective.

Researcher Leon Y. Xiao assessed multiple games and found out that paid loot boxes remained available among the 100 highest-grossing iPhone games in Belgium, 82% of them used a randomized monetization method, including 80% of games rated suitable for young people aged 12+. 

Leon Y. Xiao believes the ban has many negative consequences, including giving people a false sense of security and allowing non-compliant games to replace games that have been removed from the national market by law-abiding companies.

Moreover, the author suggests that even an effectively enforced ban also has several disadvantages, including stigmatization, promoting the ‘forbidden fruit effect,’ curtailing companies’ commercial interests, unfairly distributing more revenue to non-compliant companies, restricting players’ choices and accessibility to video games, negatively affecting the gameplay experience, unfairly disadvantaging Belgian players, and damaging the country’s eSports industry. 

The researcher concludes that "the complete elimination of the loot box mechanic from a country is not practically achievable. Belgium should re-evaluate its regulatory position."

Belgium is not the only country to fight loot boxes: not so long ago, the Norwegian Consumer Council's report on the "deceptive design" and "misleading probabilities" of loot boxes was supported by 20 consumer groups in 18 European countries.

If you want to know more, check out Leon Y. Xiao's paper here. Also, don't forget to join our Reddit page and our Telegram channel, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, where we are sharing breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more. 

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