A new report from researcher Leon Y. Xiao has said that Belgium has not been enforcing it’s ban on loot boxes.
The Belgian Gaming Commission has encouraged legal action against illegal loot box sellers since 2018, but several game developers and publishers have just ignored the local laws of the region to make more profit. According to the study, 82% of the most active iPhone games in Belgium still included the feature as of May 2021.
Not all companies have ignored the law however. Nintendo, EA, Valve, and Psyonix have all stopped selling loot boxes within the region, while Activision Blizzard has not released the loot box driven hack-and-slash RPG Diablo Immortal in the country at all.
In the abstract for the report, Xiao says that the unenforced ban has “many negative consequences” like “giving consumers, parents, and policymakers a false sense of security” and “allowing non-compliant games to replace games that have been removed from the national market by more socially responsible companies.”
Xiao concludes that if the law isn’t being enforced, the policy should be reconsidered, as it may in fact be making digital gambling features more appealing with a “forbidden fruit effect” and “unfairly distributing more revenue to non-compliant companies”.