UPDATE 4:45PM: In response to Eurogamer's request for comment, EA has issued the following statement: "Creating a fair and fun game experience is of critical importance to EA. The crate mechanics of Star Wars Battlefront 2 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."
UPDATE 4:15PM: According to Dutch news outlet NU.nl, the Dutch Gambling Authority has now launched an investigation into whether games with loot boxes are games of chance.
In the Netherlands, games of chance are subject to licencing laws - however there is currently no licencing system for online games. The investigation is still in the research phase however could result in games containing gambling to be banned from sale until new laws are brought in.
ORIGINAL STORY 3:00PM: The Belgian Gaming Commission is investigating whether loot box systems used in Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Overwatch qualify as gambling.
Originally reported by VTM (via Gamasutra), the general director of the the Belgian Gaming Commission, Peter Naessens, told the local news outlet the commission is investigating whether the loot box mechanisms used in Battlefront 2 and Overwatch should be branded as gambling.
The debate over loot boxes, and whether they should be considered gambling, feels like it has reached breaking point. Star Wars Battlefront 2 has been at the forefront of the controversial topic in recent weeks with EA receiving a huge amount of backlash over its use of loot crates in Battlefront 2.
Though the UK government's recent response on the topic was predictably evasive, if the Belgian Gaming Commission classifies a game such as Overwatch as gambling it could be send ripples through the entire industry, encouraging The Gambling Commission here in Blighty to investigate the issue further.
The Far East has already tried to navigate the slippery slope of loot box regulation, to little avail. At present it is not clear how regulating in-game gambling would look in Belgium, whether games will be assessed on an individual basis or covered by blanket legislation.