While there is no blatant call for action against loot boxes, French Senator Jérôme Durain has penned a letter to ARJEL, the regulating authority for online gambling in France. This letter emerges following the recent controversy in Star Wars Battlefront 2 where loot boxes have had a game-changing effect on the multiplayer experience. Recently, EA removed all microtransactions from the game; however, they are expected to return.
Reddit user Artkfunkel posted a French-to-English translation of the letter online for the world to see. Durain opens his letter by praising the gaming community before delving into the loot box controversy, naming Star Wars Battlefront 2 specifically.
Without any call-to-action against loot boxes specifically, Durain contemplates “about the desirability of providing consumer protection in this area.” He also notes that other countries monitor similar situations through their regulatory committees, suggesting that perhaps ARJEL should do the same.
It appears that EA sparked quite a controversy over the loot boxes in its latest game. Rumors suggest that it was Disney who intervened, forcing the removal of microtransactions from the game, which makes sense. While loot boxes with cosmetic effects are not necessarily controversial by themselves, pay-to-win loot boxes have become no stranger to investigation. Prior to Durain’s letter, Belgium’s Gaming Commission began investigations into games such similar to Star Wars Battlefront 2, citing definitions of luck, chance, and gambling.
Star Wars Battlefront 2’s pay-to-win system of microtransactions is certainly unfair to less privileged players. If these microtransactions become monitored or classified as gambling, then the gaming community has French senator Jérôme Durain and other gambling authorities such as the Belgium Gaming Commission to thank. However, it is unlikely that this controversial issue will be resolved soon.
While many players may believe these pay-to-win loot boxes are a form of gambling, there are likely many players who do not. Regardless of whether or not loot boxes are ever classified as gambling, this controversy has shown the strength and willpower of the gaming community.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.