Dutch website NU.nl has reported that authorities in Netherlands are now investigating whether video games with loot boxes can be considered games of chance. This news comes hot on the heels of publisher Electronic Arts pulling the microtransactions until further notice, and the Belgian Gaming Commission announcing that it’s launching an investigation of its own into loot boxes.
In Netherlands, gambling games are subject to licensing but the country currently doesn’t have a licensing system in place for online gambling games.
While fan backlash seems to be the obvious reason behind EA removing Battlefront II‘s microtransactions, a report by Wall Street Journal alleges that the company decided to pull the plug entirely only after pressure from Disney. According to the publication, Disney executives were “alarmed” by the controversy and were unhappy with its potential implications on the Star Wars brand.
Interestingly, EA says that turning off Battlefront II‘s microtransactions won’t have an impact on its financial guidance for fiscal year 2018. In a securities filing, the publisher wrote:
On November 16, 2017, Electronic Arts Inc. (“EA”) announced in a blog on its website at www.ea.com/news that it will turn off all in-game purchases for the Star Wars Battlefront II title until further notice. This change is not expected to have a material impact on EA’s fiscal year 2018 financial guidance.
We’ll keep our readers posted as and when we receive updates.