Blizzard locks sale of real money loot boxes in Belgium
Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm join growing list of games forced to halt sale of loot boxes by Belgian authorities
Blizzard is the latest company to acquiesce to the Belgian authorities on gambling, announcing it will begin preventing the sale of loot boxes in both Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm.
Although players will still be able to purchase loot boxes using currency earned through playing the games, real money loot boxes will soon be disabled.
The Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) published a report in April this year which found that loot boxes of almost every shade and variant contravened local gambling legislation.
"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," said a spokesperson on the Overwatch forums.
"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."
Blizzard has yet to provide a date for when the changes will come into action.
"These measures will be implemented shortly," the spokesperson added. "We also remain open to further discussions with the Belgian Gaming Commission and Ministry of Justice on this topic."
The original BGC report only highlighted EA, Valve and Blizzard as being in violation and possibly facing criminal prosecution if changes were not made; since then however, 2K Games also pulled NBA 2K loot boxes from sale in the region.
Belgium and the Netherlands are the only two countries thus far to rule that loot boxes violate local gambling legislation, with the former landing on a much stricter definition than the latter.
As such, there has been a slow trickle of companies pulling loot boxes from sale in both regions.
Valve was among the first, when it announced that loot boxes would be disabled in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.