2K Games is asking their Belgian fans to contact their government representatives to demand their loot boxes back.
There’s a big debate in the gaming world on whether or not loot boxes constitute gambling. Well, we say debate, but there really isn’t — it’s gambling. The debate is mostly being held by governments who are still trying to figure out how Steam works, let alone how to open a loot box.
But not all governments are stuck in the stone age. Belgium is one such nation that has come to the conclusion that loot boxes are indeed a form of gambling, and since the games that feature loot boxes are typically meant for children they have been declared illegal by the Belgian Gaming Commission.
What this means is that any game that features a loot box system where players can spend real money to have a random chance at obtaining some in-game items cannot be sold in Belgium. Developers must instead remove the offending loot system and replace it with something that isn’t gambling.
2K Games, makers of the 2K franchise of basketball games, disagree with the BGC’s ruling. In a statement posted to their Belgian website, 2K says that they believe their current card-based system of obtaining in-game loot already complies with local laws and that it shouldn’t have to be removed, but they’ll do it anyway to comply with the law.
"The Belgium Gaming Commission (BGC) has stated that games which include certain ‘loot box’ style mechanics violate gambling laws in Belgium. While we disagree with this position, we are working to comply with the BGC’s current interpretation of these laws. As a result, we have made some local changes to the MyTeam mode,” reads their statement.
Those changes mean that Belgian players can’t spend real cash to purchase card packs. They can still use in-game earned currency to purchase packs—meaning if they play long enough they’ll still be able to get “free” packs—but any real-world money purchasing can’t be done.
We’re not exactly sure how 2K figures that simply buying card packs for a random chance at in-game loot is any different from purchasing a loot box — a rose by any other name and all that.
2K doubles down on their stance by asking loyal gamers to contact their government representative to argue on their behalf. “We will be continuing conversations with the BGC in order to explain our view on how NBA 2K and MyTeam pack purchases already comply with local laws. If you agree, we recommend that you contact your local government representative to communicate your opinion.”
Seems like an obvious ploy to start political unrest, but we’re thinkin’ there aren’t enough Belgian NBA 2K fans to start a revolt.