Star Wars: Battlefront 2's Loot Boxes "Are Not Gambling," EA Says

Belgium is investigating the PS4, Xbox One, and PC game over gambling concerns.

115 Comments

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Following the news today that Belgium's gambling authority is investigating Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (and Overwatch) to determine if the game's loot box system constitutes gambling, publisher Electronic Arts has now responded. In a statement to GameSpot, EA says in no uncertain terms, "The crate mechanics of Star Wars: Battlefront II are not gambling."

Here is the statement in full: "Creating a fair and fun game experience is of critical importance to EA. The crate mechanics of Star Wars Battlefront II are not gambling. A player’s ability to succeed in the game is not dependent on purchasing crates. Players can also earn crates through playing the game and not spending any money at all. Once obtained, players are always guaranteed to receive content that can be used in game."

Games of chance require a permit from the Gaming Commission in Belgium, and due to the random nature of loot boxes, they could fall into that category. Battlefront II's loot boxes can contain items that actually affect gameplay, while Overwatch's are cosmetic only. It's unclear if this would impact the ruling, however.

Blizzard has yet to release a statement it seems regarding Belgium's investigation. We've reached out to the company but have not heard back as of yet.

EA has faced a flood of criticism over Battlefront II's loot box/microtransaction systems. Just this week, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen said "people need to be patient" as the developer responds to player feedback and makes necessary changes. DICE also held an in-depth Reddit AMA where it answered many questions about the game. [Update: Subsequently, EA announced it will remove all microtransactions from Battlefront II temporarily.]

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GlaciusTS

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"The crate mechanics of Star Wars Battlefront II are not gambling. A player’s ability to succeed in the game is not dependent on purchasing crates."

Last I checked, people could choose to work for money or gamble for it IRL too. It's still gambling. And as far as I can tell, the current formula for selling loot crates involve making them game harder and longer to play in order to maximize costs.

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temp123

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It's not always gambling if you get something for your money. Most games that involve cost to pay or in-app/in-game purchases aren't classed as gambling. I think it needs to be completely involve money at both ends of a winning or losing transaction for it to be classed as 'gambling'.

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SOul_FUNk

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They said it is not gambling, because the loot boxes will reward the player with something regardless if the player wants it, it is similiar to the concept like playing poker in casino, u lose money and then they give u a chocolate bar as a consolation prize, then it is not gambling !? what a bullcrap!

Despite the reward of loot box is not real money, but if the reward is something people will desperately want to buy/spend in order to acquire it regardless of any purposes, then it has a value.

u get random chances to unlock something from loot boxes, then it is called gambling !

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mindwave01

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@SOul_FUNk: WoW, I never knew I was a gambling addict, when I was a kid buying packs of sports trading cards, hoping for that one rare/special card. On top of that, those carnival/amusement park games, yeah I gambled a lot there (In fairness, this actually does seem like gambling, as you have a good chance to end up with nothing.) . So anyone that buys a loot crate off a website is a gambler? How do you feel about those claw games? If these micro-transaction loot boxes get labeled as gambling, then everything I mentioned above has to as well.

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aydinj

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Edited By aydinj

It is gambling. You pay money and randomly win. It's gambling no matter what you win. A virtual helmet, gun or cosmetic things for your character...

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RUMADBRAH

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Edited By RUMADBRAH

It's sad to see reading through some of these comments that people are actually defending EA lol what a sad day.

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Kudlak-Sin

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@rumadbrah: They are addicts.

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mindwave01

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It's not gambling, you're still getting something for your money. It's like those little toy machines, that are set up by the gumball machines at supermarkets/corner stores. You put a quarter or two in the machine and hope it's a toy you want, is that gambling?

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SOul_FUNk

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@mindwave01: Yes it is .....

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aydinj

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@mindwave01: Yes it is

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Servare

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Th "alure" of the gamble comes from gaining something that matters. Overwatch doesn't really matter, for the lootbox setup, because you already have access to everything that everyone else does. We're all on the same playing field. Cosmetics don't change much.

BF2, on the other hand, gives actual bonuses, characters, enhanced powers, characters and gameplay changes (like playing as a Jedi). These things change the way the game is played, thus, becoming a draw to the individual.

Even ME's MP crates were gambling. Why they didn't get much hate, I don't know, but what ever. Anything that leads to the abolishment of loot boxes has my vote.

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ghost140

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Edited By ghost140

I have to admit im enjoying all this controversy. If this loot box thing goes south on the Industry hooray! But my sympathies to any game devs who may be negatively affected by it. Except the suits they dont need sympathy cuz all the golden showers they get.

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Neurogia

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The game should probably be rebranded as for adults only of legal gambling age. It's so wrong that the ESRB gave it a Teen rating.

It's sad and disgusting to see that so many people are now responsible for giving minors access to gambling, which is illegal.

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Spr1ggan87

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I did not have relations with that woman

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Atzenkiller

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"It's not gambling because your success in the game does not depend on it." Great explanation. Maybe they should let the gambling commission decide since what they say actually matters. If they say it's gambling then EA's views on it are irrelevant.

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nickyparmar92

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Technically it’s not gambling since you can still play the game. If you go into a casino or betting shop to play any game you need to spend money first. You don’t do this with Battlefront 2. However this loot crate system is a clear money grabbing scheme and eventually word of mouth from the gamers that know will make it’s way to the masses to the point where everyone knows and will want no part of it.

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Xylymphydyte

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@nickyparmar92: Legally speaking the only thing separating lootboxes from being classified as gambling is that you don't gain anything of monetary value.

The main issue comes in that most gambling laws are in place to help protect and reduce the damage caused to and by gambling addicts, however, studies have primarily found that people aren't addicted to winning, they're addicted to the wager itself. These games specifically try to activate those addictions by making the opening of the box an exciting, flashy experience to further squeeze out that dopamine hit. The whole thing is skeevy as hell.

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Atzenkiller

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@nickyparmar92: It has the same gambling mechanics. I think it's time that this stuff started to get more regulated by gambling commissions as it's just as addictive, and that's why gambling is regulated in the first place. Modern games have so many addictive mechanisms in place. You don't have to spend a few hundred bucks on a game for it to be considered a problem. It's pretadory behavior and people need to be protected from it because the masses can't do it themselves, as sad as it is.

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darkelf83

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@nickyparmar92: You kinda do, in order to hit those loot crates you need to "put down" $60. That's different from the free to play, microtransaction heavy mobile models.

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XCrimsonxSynX

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@darkelf83: The only difference is the upfront fee to own the game. Most who play ftp games don't spend real money, but these kind loot systems prey on those with addictive behaviors like gambling. These regulations need to happen to create transparency for everyone.

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G4m1ngOn

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You enter a casino - you getting one free drink and 100 of free chips to kick off your playing night as you are first time visiting. Means - you are guaranteed to play same "game" as people who bought their chips after failing to win with 100 of free chips. Winning is dependedned on a chance, totally controlled digitally NOT mechanically. (means it can be rigged)

Isn't it same what is happening with loot crates in SWBF2? What is it if not GAMBLING!?

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wexorian

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Good games with this kind of system should be marked as GAMBLING and devs should pay extra fee's . Also Parrents won't buy games marked as gambling for kids pretty much.

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Paraiso83

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@wexorian: Agree, but more importante, most of the "civilized" countries don't allow underage gambling. So if a game has something that is considered "gambling" it won't be enough to rate it as 18, it will be needed a system to really identify that someone buying any type of loot crate is over gambling age for the country.

This would create a ban on payed loot crates, or several lawsuits from parents. The responsibility of checking the age goes to the entity providing the "Gambling", and if they don't do it . . . well soon or later someone will ask for they money back and win.

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LTJohnnyRico

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Edited By LTJohnnyRico

@wexorian: Then they would have to mark trading cards as Gambling too and would know doubt stop that too .. I used to love collecting baseball cards when I was a kid !

That being said ! they have no place in this Game (or Any other) it would have been awesome without them !

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GoliathX15

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Edited By GoliathX15

IMO, the likening of lootcrates to collectable cards is ridiculous. The only way this BS should be okay is if they can promise (which is impossible) that the game (be it Star Trek Online, Star Wars TOR, SW:Battlefront II, etc.) will always be available. How about these guys can do micro-transactions IF they keep the game functioning in some capacity. Too many times, people get screwed when a game shuts down. For me, I've now been screwed over by City of Heroes, Star Wars Galaxies, and today- Marvel Heroes.

If in five to fifteen years, it becomes impossible to play SW: Battlefront 2s multiplayer, which could happen when new consoles and online services become available in the future, then any loot packs people buy now become null and void. Collectable cards don't vanish over time, but these digital items do.

Also, saying to simply not buy the packs never works. Some people have gambling addictions, and when you literally have to only click two buttons to purchase a randomized pack, it enables that addiction. I know from personal experience. I don't want to say how much I've spent on these things over the years, but it's a lot. I don't want to, but it's hard to stop when there's that one item I want.

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Xylymphydyte

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@GoliathX15: You can also trade your cards to other people to get cards you want, or sell them or buy specific ones in a secondary market that's not controlled by the card manufacturers.

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trust2112

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@GoliathX15: SWTOR DOES have gambling in it. The Nar Shaddaa Nightlife Events are ALL about gambling. How they circumvented scrutiny by running it multiple times is beyond me.

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ryanvandam

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@GoliathX15: Ah, star wars galaxies... memories

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lostn

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Edited By lostn

It's not gambling by the strict definition of the term, but it's gambling in spirit. If the box has a chance of giving you items worth less than the cost of the loot box, I consider it gambling even if the law doesn't. Only if you're pedantic with words would you argue otherwise.

You have a small chance of getting something highly valuable but a big chance of getting junk you don't want. You roll the dice hoping to get the valuable item but probably won't. That's as close to gambling as you're going to get.

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deactivated-5a50575ec5600

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@lostn: I can see how you could think this way, but you're erroneously placing a real-world value on a virtual good that costs literally nothing to replicate ad infinitum.

It has a chance of giving "rare" items and boosts which reduce the amount of time you have to spend to get the aforementioned, and time is a valuable commodity which can be likened to actual cash much better than a virtual skin/model could.

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Thanatos2k

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Edited By Thanatos2k

If McDonald's offered a "McCrate of Food" for $2 that could contain a Double Cheeseburger, Small Drink, or Ten Quarter Pounders with Cheese, every time you buy one you're gambling because the value of the goods inside the box is different, and only random chance dictated the value.

Did you buy something in which the value is randomly generated?

THEN IT'S GAMBLING

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darth_zaramoth

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If only the US would investigate this too. That might actually hurt their sales and get them to back down on this disgusting practice.

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Paraiso83

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@darth_zaramoth: If one European country defines loot crates as Gambling, then there is the large possibility for others to follow, and maybe have the European Comissione to make a ruling for all member countries to follow.

This would be great for gaming. GTA 5 is the most sold game online, it has micro-transactions, but there is no gambling in it. Destiny has paid "loot crates" but you only get cosmetics, so the value is 0 for most players. If game companies want micro-transactions, find a way to remove the gambling.

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lionheartssj1

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@paraiso83: Yea, with GTA V you're basically converting money to a different currency to pick and choose what you buy. The "randomized" loot box, especially since it's digital, is susceptible to value fixing by the company selling you the "chance". Anyone who wants to defend RNG used in this capacity should look back at the engram system evolution in Destiny 1.

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Paraiso83

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@lionheartssj1: I "paid" my engrams, in Destiny 1, with my time, and when Bungie came up with eververse the first thing me and my friend told was that if the game became "Pay to win" we would stop playing.

Even if Bungie wanted to make more money by putting micro-transactions, at least they got it right by only selling you the chance for some cosmetic stuff.

When it gets pay to win, even if you can (maybe) get that weapon or character after 1000 hours of game play, then just get in big red letter on the cover of the game "Rich player only"

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Neurogia

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Edited By Neurogia

@paraiso83: The only issue with Destiny 2 is that the eververse has a chance to give you the legendary sparrows that move faster than the standard ones. Although the gameplay advantage of a faster vehicle is minimal, it does increase the chance of survival a bit more out in the open maps.

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Paraiso83

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@neurogia: don't think that is an issue, for now.
When the sparrow racing comes back, them it will became an issue.

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lionheartssj1

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@paraiso83: Good point.

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JSein456

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So is this EA's attempt to slowly start turning Star Wars into Star Trek Online?

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iohannfus2015

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imo there is no way out from this, SW is a special franchise with a strong fan base and EA knows that and tries to milk every penny from it. Most of gamers, mature ones, even old ones have strong feelings and memories about SW, they will buy this game even if they don't spend any money on star cards or loot boxes ... is like to are going to cinema to see a SW movie and at the end of the film Luke and Vader starts to fight, the scene is blured and ad tells that you need to pay more 20 bucks to unlock the scene ... after all, Darth Vader infamous replica will appear on screen : "Luke, I am your father" (or "Look, i am your father but i don't give a sh*t !!!").

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Thanatos2k

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@indigoj: Walking into a casino is optional too. But they're still heavily regulated.

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Rufus_the_rat

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@indigoj: I'm not sure that alone is enough to not make it gambling. You can "earn" money in most developed countries by sitting at home and collecting welfare, but it's still gambling to buy a lottery ticket and try to earn extra money, faster.

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wexorian

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@Rufus_the_rat: Lottery companies PAY a lot OF taxes be sure on that.

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lostn

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Edited By lostn

@Rufus_the_rat: The lottery ticket is a decent analogy. Legally it's not considered gambling, but loot boxes are like lottery tickets. With the difference that you always get something, instead of nothing.

Legally it isn't considered gambling unless you have a chance of winning nothing at all and losing your money. I guess you could compare it to slot machines where they change the minimum payout from NOTHING to a dime or a penny. Does that suddenly stop it from being considered gambling because you're always getting something back?

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Metallinatus

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The slot machines of our casinos are not gambling. A player’s ability to succeed in life is not dependent on playing the slots. Players can also earn money through having jobs and not spend any money on the casino at all.

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deactivated-5a50575ec5600

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@metallinatus: It's a faulty analogy.

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Metallinatus

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@Raidendude153: It's a faulty argument for both slot machines and loot boxes.

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deactivated-5a50575ec5600

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@metallinatus: It's a faulty analogy to compare loot boxes to slot machines or casinos, but not to consider them as gambling.

People are conflating virtual goods/skins/models/character unlocks as somehow having intrinsic/extrinsic value, when it doesn't because it's digital and costs nothing to replicate ad infinitum.

Boosts reducing the amount of time required to get somewhere or something can be valued in terms of time, which is by virtue limited and transient and therefore cannot be replicated ad infinitum. Harks back to the age old saying of time being money.

Lootboxes are paying real money for infinitely replicable virtual products with a chance of saving some time, vis a vis it's gambling for time.

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JohnCrichton

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How deep are they gonna dig this grave?