You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Valve Shuts Down Trading for Dutch Customers on Steam

Steam users in the Netherlands are no longer able to trade items or marketplace purchases, in response to a threat of prosecution.

Valve removed the features for “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” and “DOTA 2” items on Tuesday after the Dutch government issued an ultimatum to prosecute if the digital games distributor did not “implement a remedy” by the government’s deadline of June 20, according to a statement from Valve.

There was debate in the Netherlands about whether loot boxes violate gambling law in months prior, and the government has now made an official declaration which was submitted to Valve in the Study into Loot Boxes.

“Loot boxes contravene the law if the in-game goods from the loot boxes are transferable,” the study states. “Loot boxes do not contravene the law if the in-game goods from the loot boxes are not transferable.”

In the Netherlands, popular games with loot boxes such as “Counter-Strike” and “DOTA 2” have resulted in players purchasing loot boxes and then trading the contents, sometimes for actual currency, which has led the government to rule the practice gambling. Some of the rarer items, including skins for weapons in “Counter-Strike,” were trading for the equivalent of hundreds, at times even thousands, of U.S. dollars.

Loot boxes, which players can purchase with in-game or real world dollars, provide the purchaser with random contents, usually extra cosmetic features or in-game boosters. The nature of loot boxes and their high degree of chance have been compared to gambling, as they can encourage compulsion in players eager to keep purchasing to get better rewards.

This has led some governments to intervene. In May, the Belgian Gaming Commission declared loot boxes gambling, but has not yet pursued any prosecution.

Under pressure to find a solution, Valve’s decision to remove the item trading features entirely has frustrated a number of Dutch users, according to a Reddit thread. However, Valve did note in their release that after engaging with the Dutch government, they may be able to “find a solution that is less inconvenient.”




Popular on Variety

More Gaming

  • Apple Arcade

    Apple Officially Launches Apple Arcade Game Subscription Service

    Apple officially cut the ribbon for its new game subscription service Thursday: Priced $4.99 per month, Apple Arcade offers unlimited access to over 100 exclusive games. Apple Arcade was released alongside iOS 13, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system. Some of the titles available through the subscription package include “Lego Brawls” from Lego [...]

  • Venn co-founders

    VENN Raises $17 Million to Launch a Cheddar-like TV Network for Gaming

    Video game industry veterans Ariel Horn and Ben Kusin have raised a massive $17 million seed funding round to launch a new gaming-focused TV network called VENN. Short for Video Game Entertainment and News Network, VENN wants to mix esports with Twitch-style video game streaming and other gaming-related entertainment content when it launches in 2020. [...]

  • JoJo Siwa'The Angry Birds Movie 2'

    Nickelodeon Star JoJo Siwa Gets Her Own Dance-Tour Mobile Game (EXCLUSIVE)

    Fans of JoJo Siwa will be able to join the teen influencer’s dance squad on stage — virtually — in a new mobile game. In “JoJo Siwa — Live to Dance,” players will become part of the Nickelodon and YouTube star’s worldwide tour on her professional dance team and experience what it’s like to be [...]

  • Game Awards OrchestraThe Game Awards, Show,

    The Game Awards 2019 Sets December Date, Will Live-Stream Across 45 Platforms

    The Game Awards 2019, the fifth annual video game industry kudosfest, will be held Dec. 12 in Los Angeles and will be live-streamed for free again on more than 45 different platforms worldwide. The Game Awards is an annual celebration of video games and the people who make them, created and executive produced by Geoff [...]

  • HTC Vive Cosmos

    HTC Replaces HTC Vive With New $699 Vive Comos VR Headset

    HTC is getting ready to retire the headset that was central to its expansion into the virtual reality market 3 years ago: The company announced on Thursday that its new Vive Comos headset will effectively replace the original HTC Vive, which was first released in April of 2016. “It was time to upgrade our consumer [...]

  • Sohu logo

    China's Sohu Seeks Games Consolidation With $500 Million Bid for Changyou

    Sohu, one of China’s Internet pioneers, is offering to buy out its games subsidiary Changyou in a deal that values Changyou at $532 million. Both companies currently have their shares listed on NASDAQ, but if the deal goes ahead Changyou would lose its separate stock listing. Sohu, which has interests covering search, digital advertising and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content