Loot boxes, which can be found in many games, hold randomized in-game contents of varying value.
“Dota 2” players in the Netherlands additionally can only purchase one loot box at a time, thus avoiding the workaround gambling scenario in which a player could theoretically purchase multiple at a time. The animation associated with opening the loot boxes in “Dota 2” has also been removed for Dutch players.
However, there is still the possibility that players could purchase a less desirable loot box, with the new gamble being whatever the next loot box will hold. Regardless, it seems the change is enough to get around the Netherlands’ Betting and Gaming Act.
The concern of loot boxes potentially causing players to compulsively purchase them for more valuable rewards was behind the Netherlands’ Gaming Authority’s study of loot boxes in games back in April. The combination of gamers having the ability to rapidly open loot boxes and the visual effects of the boxes’ opening were part of the concern of the addictive nature of them, especially for young players. Ultimately, the Authority determined that four out of 10 loot boxes from games in their study violated the Betting and Gaming Act, and game publishers were given until June 20 to comply.
To comply by the deadline, Valve originally removed the ability to trade items on Steam for “Dota 2” and “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” players, as this fix was in line with the study which stated, “Loot boxes contravene the law if the in-game goods from the loot boxes are transferable. Loot boxes do not contravene the law if the in-game goods from the loot boxes are not transferable.”
This was later reversed in the Netherlands on July 11, meaning Dutch customers are free to trade items once again. The visible contents of loot boxes for “Dota 2” is a different fix than Valve took for “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” — earlier this month, Valve updated the first-person shooter so that players in the Netherlands and Belgium would be unable to open loot boxes at all.