According to a new report from loot box researcher Leon Y. Xiao, Belgium's loot box laws prohibiting the sale of randomised microtransaction crates in games have not been properly implemented, with a majority of successful games still available in the European country.
According to GamesIndustry.biz, Xiao's June 28 survey revealed that 82 of the 100 most popular Belgian iPhone games in May 2022 included loot box features. This follows a Belgian Gaming Commission's recommendation to prosecute illegal loot boxes in 2018 and beyond.
According to the Xiaos report, the law has been easily circumvented by a number of different measures. In the case of Roblox, the publisher did not expressly prohibit the purchase of user-generated loot boxes in Belgium.
Some developers have had to remove loot boxes from their titles in Belgium, including EAs FIFA series, Valves Dota 2, and CS:GO, and Psyonix' Rocket League. Diablo Immortal is one of the most notable of the recently affected games, with Activision Blizzard not releasing its mobile or PC crossover RPG game in either Belgium or the Netherlands due to concerns over its loot box-like elder rifts system.
The authors highlighted the dangers of not imposing the restriction, such as causing a false sense of security for video game consumers (including children and parents of young players) that Belgian players are now safe from loot boxes, even though they are still readily available for purchase.
The report also criticizes the commissions' report, claiming that it has not reviewed whether or not the commission's prohibition has been effective. In addition, it claims that this has resulted in increased revenue for non-compliant firms who have been permitted to replace games that have been removed from the national market by more socially responsible businesses.
Diablo Immortal microtransactions have raised over $100 million in player spending on mobile versions since the game was released. In a recent report by the Norwegian Consumer Council, players are manipulated to spend money by loot boxes in FIFA 22 games. Meanwhile, the UK government is considering legislation protecting children from such monetisation methods.