Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm players in Belgium will soon be unable to purchase loot boxes with real money, Blizzard has announced.
A post on the Blizzard forums went into more detail on the decision, highlighting the publisher ‘does not share the same opinion’ as the Belgian Gaming Commission. The statement says:
“While we at Blizzard were surprised by this conclusion and do not share the same opinion, we have decided to comply with their interpretation of Belgian law. As a result, we have no choice but to implement measures that will prevent Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm players located in Belgium from purchasing in-game loot boxes and loot chests with real money and gems.
“No matter what, we want to make sure that our players around the world have the best entertainment experience possible.”
Players will still be able to earn in-game currency and purchase loot boxes that way – it’s just the elements involving real world money that will be removed in the Belgian region.
The trickle of publishers making moves to fall in line with laws in both Belgium and the Netherlands has been growing in pace recently, with 2K most recently pulling availability of paid-for random rewards in its NBA 2K franchise.
Valve announced plans to remove the CS:GO and DOTA 2 marketplaces from the Netherlands, while titles like Shadow of War and Forza removed paid-for aspects altogether (though not specifically because of the Belgian/Dutch rulings). EA meanwhile announced ahead of its release that Battlefield V will not feature loot box elements.
The trickle is now a tide, and it seems that tide has turned.