Blizzard will be removing the option to pay for loot boxes with real money from Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm in Belgium due to the country’s new gambling laws, the company said in a statement on its forums today.
Last April, Belgium declared that loot boxes in video games were a form of gambling after investigating Counter Strike: Global Offensive, FIFA 18, Overwatch, and Star Wars Battlefront II. The first three titles were considered in violation of gambling laws, while Star Wars Battlefront II was not, despite it being the game that started the debate last November.
“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,” the company said. “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.”
Players in Belgium will still be able to earn loot boxes by playing the games, and no in-game items will be removed. Blizzard said the measures will be “implemented shortly,” and would continue to work with the Belgian Gaming Commission and Ministry of Justice on the subject.
Blizzard is not the only publisher to remove the option to buy blind boxes with real money due to gambling laws. Last week, 2K Games disabled buying NBA 2K19’s MyTeam card packs with its premium currency in Belgium, while blocking complete access to the game’s MyTeam Auction House in the Netherlands.