Spain launches public consultation to determine status of loot boxes
The loot boxes are going to prevent Diablo Immortal from being released in the Netherlands and Belgium and now those controversial treasure chests are back in the scope of the Spanish authorities who have called for further scrutiny to determine if the containers are actually a form of game. This time, Spain will rely on public input to try to find the answer.
Public contribution to help Spain decide the fate of the loot boxes
The nature of the loot box is associated with random number generation commonly used in games of chance, such as slots, table games and others. The idea is that a person can purchase a loot box in a video game and then claim a prize. This price is determined by a random percentage or chance for the container to have a certain reward.
Ten years ago, publishers didn’t list the chances of getting certain items from loot boxes, but recent regulatory pressures have forced them to change that and display which loot box has which chance of dropping. what objects. Of course, luck plays a big part here, as loot boxes rarely hit the mark, and that’s where their addictive and risky nature comes into play.
There is room for debate, of course. A slot machine wouldn’t reward players every spin, but a loot box will always contain an item, which is some kind of value. In other words, players pay for access in the form of microtransactions with a bit of added mystery. While the Netherlands and Belgium have moved to block all games, including Electronic Art’s FIFA and Apex Legends, and now Activision Blizzard’s Diablo Immortal, the issue of loot boxes is still a hot topic.
The Spanish Ministry of Consumer Affairs has launched a consultation on this subject in the hope of learning more about the social perception of these digitized items. Meanwhile, Spain’s General Directorate for Gambling Regulation and Consumer Affairs Minister Alberto Garzón have both called for more control over loot boxes.
The upcoming regulatory review of the Gambling Act 2005 has also been accompanied by frequent calls to ensure that loot boxes are properly regulated. Many observers have already agreed that loot boxes are indeed gambling and, even worse, kids are addicted. The most recent report from the Norwegian Consumer Council argued that gamers were manipulated into spending their money and offered decent prizes, but often got the worst-off items.
Are loot boxes really necessary if it’s so simple?
Although it’s all based on a random number generator, the actual value spent on a loot box to claim an item far exceeds what you would normally pay for the item. Opponents have called for loot boxes to be phased out in favor of in-game marketplaces where all of these items are available.
Some publishers and developers, however, have made a fraction of their S-tier items only accessible by haptically trying to unlock a loot box, and that’s the rub in many arguments against loot boxes versus gambling.
Still, the public and regulators are divided, and that’s precisely why public consultation comes next in Spain. Electronic Arts may have been called a pariah in the Benelux – the name given to the Netherlands and Belgium when mentioned together – in terms of loot box games, but a Dutch court actually ruled that EA did not violate any gambling laws by offering box loot games.