Without a doubt, the loot box controversy surrounding the launch of Electronic Arts’ science fiction shooter Star Wars Battlefront 2 caused the in-game item to pop up on the radar of many regulatory commissions around the world, with countries like Belgium and the Netherlands eventually declaring some loot boxes to be be unlawful. With this being the case, Valve has officially decided to block Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players in the two aforementioned nations from opening loot boxes altogether.
The restriction from opening loot boxes in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in Belgium and the Netherlands came in the first-person shooter’s latest patch, with the developer and digital distribution company also using the update to re-enable Steam trading in the latter country. Of course, activating Steam trading once more likely won’t be seen as much of a win when players in Belgium and the Netherlands aren’t actually able to open loot boxes.
As of now, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players in Belgium and the Netherlands will still be able to sell or trade their skins on the Steam Market, but they won’t be able to engage with the crate and key economy that’s open to the rest of the game’s users. And with a lot of CS:GO‘s revenue being funded by the percentage that Valve takes for itself from each key and crate sold and/or bought by players on the Steam Market – as well as the ones it sells itself directly to players – it will be interesting to see just how much of a dent the loot box block makes in the first-person shooter’s profits.
Bearing everything in mind, it seems as if the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) and the Dutch Gaming Authority (DGA) has scored a somewhat of a win when it comes to the organizations’ stances regarding loot boxes. With Valve having decided to make loot boxes inaccessible in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive while being played in Belgium and the Netherlands, it could very well be the company’s reaction to the BGC’s threat of criminal prosecution for putting the virtual crates in certain games. Only time will tell, though, if other publishers and developers follow suit.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is available now for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.