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Blizzard disables paid loot boxes for Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm in Belgium

Gone without a Tracer.

By Emma Kent. 28/08/2018

Thought the loot boxes drama was over? Think again, as the saga continues with the news Blizzard will remove paid loot boxes from its games in Belgium.

In an official post on Blizzard's forums, the company announced paid loot boxes will be removed from Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm in reaction to the Belgian Gaming Commission's report in April, which classed Overwatch's loot boxes as gambling and therefore illegal.

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"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 stated. "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".

It's taken four months for the microtransactions to be disabled, despite the Belgian government's April warning of a "prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to 800,000 euros" for publishers who didn't remove paid loot boxes. This sees Blizzard join the likes of Valve, who last month blocked Belgian and Dutch players from opening paid loot boxes in CS:GO, and 2K, who did the same for NBA 2K.

EA has said it will disclose pack odds for FIFA 19, but has so far kept the card packs in its games.

The third major game named in the commission's report, FIFA, is yet to remove loot boxes in Belgium. EA has so far insisted FIFA Ultimate Team's card packs aren't gambling, and hasn't removed them from either the Belgian or Dutch versions of its games. Will EA be the next company to bend?