Disney and Electronic Arts (EA) latest video game collaboration Star Wars Battlefront II has already caught the attention of many, including gambling regulators, for all the wrong reasons.
The issue lies with how the game rewards players with loot crates filled with randomized items. First, these controversial crates, more popularly known as “loot boxes,” are purchased through micro-transactions, which require players to convert real money into in-game virtual currency.
Then comes the randomness of what is inside those “lootboxes.” Players buy the crates without knowing what they will get from those boxes. Many couldn’t help wonder why Disney, which has been vocal with its anti-gambling stance, is promoting gambling to children.
Hence the meme:
— Scarcy (@ScarcyRS) November 14, 2017
Many state regulators, like the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC), are already debating whether to classify Battlefront as a gambling product.
For the Belgian regulator, a player who buys something without really knowing what he or she is actually buying is gambling.
“It is therefore dependent on chance how well you can play the game. And in that case, this is one of the games of chance,” Peter Naessens, director of the Gaming Commission, said, according to the news report.
The BGC noted that the game poses a danger to minors, who can spend a lot of money under social pressure. This, according to the state regulator, is the primary reason why the commission launched a probe on the games.
“If there is a game of chance, it is not possible without a permit from the Gaming Commission,” Naessens said.
EA, however, insisted that Battlefront 2 isn’t promoting gambling and that the crate mechanics of the game are not gambling.
“Creating a fair and fun game experience is of critical importance to EA. The crate mechanics of Star Wars Battlefront II are not gambling,” EA said, according to Gamespot. “A player’s ability to succeed in the game is not dependent on purchasing crates. Players can also earn crates through playing the game and not spending any money at all. Once obtained, players are always guaranteed to receive content that can be used in game.”