The push to ban loot boxes for good is ramping up in the Netherlands, with six political parties supporting a motion that would compel developers to remove them from video games in the region.
The motion, which is supported by four parties with cabinet positions, labels loot boxes as a "form of gambling", with the potential to "manipulate children" and "disrupt families". This indicates that the desire to ban the practice in the Netherlands is widespread, posing a threat to companies that have become reliant on loot boxes as a source of revenue over the past few years.
"In video games, children are manipulated into [purchasing] microtransactions", the motion reads (thanks, Exputer). "loot boxes are a form of gambling[…]these transactions are addictive and can [hit] families with unexpected bills for these transactions, with disruptive consequences."
The statement continues: "Consumer associations from eighteen European countries are jointly calling for regulation of these loot boxes[…]these loot boxes are prohibited in Belgium."
With this in mind, the six parties call on the government to "amend the law where necessary" to reflect their view that loot boxes are indeed a form of gambling, and one that poses a risk to players.
It remains to be seen if this motion is successful. Of course, this is not the first time parties in the Netherlands have attempted to ban loot boxes in the region. The country was among the first to raise the alarm on the practice, and actually did ban them in 2020 for a time. However, this decision was overturned in the courts earlier this year, once again allowing companies such as EA to operate freely without having fines imposed on them. This got the FIFA publisher out of a €10 million penalty, and signalled that other companies were free to continue selling loot boxes in the region.
This new motion would seemingly enshrine loot box bans in law, rather than rely on interpretations of preexisting gambling legislation. Big players within the gaming community are yet to respond to these new calls for regulation.
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