NBA 2K’s Loot Box Policies Change Due to Belgium’s Regulations

Friday, August 24th, 2018 | Written by April Bergman
NBA 2K’s Loot Box Policies Change Due to Belgium’s Regulations

After Belgium announced it would view randomized in-game purchases as a form of gambling, 2K Games announced changes to NBA 2K’s in-game purchases system in Belgium to comply with the law.

The loot boxes in the game, specifically the NBA 2K series’ MyTeam feature, will be adjusted to comply with the recently changed Belgian gambling laws.

The statement which appears during the game reads, “Specifically, we will be turning off the ability to purchase packs with premium (non-earned) currency/[Virtual Currency]. Gamers are still able to acquire packs with MyTeam points.”

The decision to change NBA 2K’s in-game purchases systems end months of controversy on the most popular NBA game’s use of the revenue method.

NBA 2K In-Game Purchases Policy

Over the past couple of years, loot boxes have made the headlines. The debate whether or not to consider them gambling has gone back and forth across the world. Loot boxes are not a new thing, but the issues they were creating became so prominent it became a world-wide discussion for gamers and non-gamers alike. Politicians and regulators got involved.

Loot boxes are found in some shape or form in pretty much all video games. These prize packs offer a way to enhance or assist the player’s game in some way. Depending on the game, different forms of loot boxes are offered.

Loot boxes are unpredictable and can come in the form of a new skin, a new piece of wardrobe, a new or upgraded weapon, or many other skills or items to better your player or game. Such booster packs have been common for decades as free in-game rewards for long play or achievements. With each loot box you do receive an item, however, you will know what you get until its opened and it might be something you already have.

This is fine with free loot boxes. When you pay a price for a random result of random value, many consider it a form of gambling. You will see these prize boxes referred to differently as well as the content they carry. For shooter games, such as Call of Duty, you might see them referred to as “loot box”, “loot crate” or “lockbox”. These loot boxes typically consist of new gear, outfit or piece of wardrobe. With many digital card games, they are often referred to as “booster pack”, a term originated from collectible card games.

Call of Duty Loot Boxes

As mentioned before, with many video games, their loot boxes are able to be earned for free. For instance, in Call of Duty, a multi-player shooting game, players might receive them for their character leveling up or making it to the end of a multiplayer game without quitting.

You might have seen loot boxes un-knowingly. These boxes you will often see in many digital games you might play on your smart phone or tablet. They will often give out loot boxes for watching a quick promotional clip in between rounds of gameplay. They are usually advertising new games coming out or certain streaming events like movies or ads and these sneaky little loot boxes usually goes undetected as loot boxes all together. but, that is exactly what they are.

The free ones, however, are not the issue. It is the ones that are not free. Because, though you can earn free ones pretty easily, many of the best loot boxes are awarded by pulling out your own wallet.

People around the world are putting money down for a chance to obtain a certain item. Even though that item is never guaranteed. That “No Guarantee” thing is what makes it such a controversial topic. Its come down to a matter of opinion for many countries as to where to draw the line between gambling and just game play.

Belgian Regulators Look at NBA 2K

Belgium determined that loot box mechanics were illegal April of this year. Many other countries have set up regulation for loot boxes such as The Netherlands, China, Japan, Australia, and the Isle of Man. Both Electronic Arts and Microsoft games have had to make some adjustments in their games in order to meet new requirements set across the world.

Koen Geens, the Belgian minister of justice, said, “Mixing games and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for mental health. We have already taken numerous measures to protect both minors and adults against the influence of, among other things, gambling advertising. That is why we must also ensure that children and adults are not confronted with games of chance when they are looking for fun in a video game.”

NBA 2K’s MyTeam Feature

MyTeam is an NBA 2K mode in which players are given the task to build the best custom team they can. One of the paths to acquiring players for their teams is to purchase loot boxes of randomized player cards. That form of loot box though is now in violation of Belgian gambling laws. 2K has now dropped that loot box mechanic in Belgium.

2K however, does not agree with the Belgium government and its views on loot boxes. The gaming company made a statement about the change displaying their clear disagreement on the matter. The publisher has even encouraged players to lobby against the decision made by the government in hopes of forcing a change.

2K said in a press release, “We will be continuing conversations with the [Belgian Gaming Commission] in order to explain our view on how NBA 2K and MyTeam pack purchases already comply with local laws. If you agree, we recommend that you contact your local government representative to communicate your opinion.”