The Dutch Gaming Authority has come to a ruling on the matter of loot boxes and determined that out of ten popular games with loot boxes the commission investigated, four don't comply with the country's Better Gaming Act.
The news comes by way of the Netherlands' public news agency NOS (translated by Stolkie1971). According to the Dutch Gaming Authority, the four games in violation of the Better Gaming Act because they feature "elements in them that can also be found in the gambling world."
The Dutch Gaming Authority ruled that because the cosmetic items could be traded for euro at fluctuating prices, these items have economic value. And since players can earn money for rare items, the games violate the rules of chance.
Companies that do not comply with the Better Gaming Act can be fined or even prohibited from being sold in the Netherlands. While we don't know specifically which games are in violaction of the act, we know that they are games that have loot box items which can be sold through third-party channels.
Of the remaining six games the Dutch Gaming Authority investigated, they found that the loot boxes contained items that could not be traded. Thus they are in compliance with the Better Gaming Act. However, the group still criticized how loot boxes were implemented as slot machines or roulettes.
The Gaming Authority said that it will announce the names of the games that do not comply with the Better Gaming Act if the games are not modified to meet Dutch standards. The companies have eight weeks to modify their games.
It was reported that some of the games tested by the Gaming Authority included Dota 2, FIFA 18, PUBG, and Rocket League. Of those PUBG, Dota 2, and Rocket League include items that can be traded through third-party services.
The Gaming Authority also said that young people are particularly vulnerable to loot boxes and that these in-game mechanics could lead to gambling addiction if the game companies don't intervene.
The loot box controversy has been roiling the games industry since EA's Star Wars Battlefront 2 first brought the issue to public attention. Game companies have responded in very real ways, sometimes altering the ways their game's loot box systems or microtransactions function.
In the U.S. state governments like Hawaii have pushed forward legislation to ban the sales of games with loot boxes to anyone under 21. Other states like Washington have joined in similar legislative action.
Meanwhile the ESRB has maintained that loot boxes are not gambling, but have altered rating labels to include "In-game purchases" to games with loot boxes after a letter from US Senator Maggie Hassan called on the ESRB to act.