We're all to familiar with this scenario: You buy a brand new game for about £60 to get the base editions, with some "super" version going for £700.
You load the game up, only to find the game wants you to spend even more money on "Premium Currency" or cosmetics.
In the case of Ubisoft, you can even buy permanent XP and Cash bonuses to make the games even easier than they already are. There are several topics that clearly need addressing - such as loot boxes, micro-transactions and that endless stream of remasters.
Loot Boxes, or as EA wants them to be called, "Surprise Mechanics", are a revolutionary new practice where players pay real money, and are rewarded with randomized items, with the highly sought after items having such a small chance of being unlocked that I'd have more luck beating Floyd Mayweather at boxing. Fancy that cool new skin in your favourite game? Chances are the item has less than a 1% chance of being unlocked, meaning you'd likely have to burn through quite a lot of money just to unlock that one item. There's a term for mechanics like this. Oh yeah, it's called Gambling.
Whilst we all agreed that Gambling should be kept to adults only, the persuasive power of the Publishers have over lawmakers have kept loot-boxes from officially being called gambling, because if it was, games that include them would have an 18+ rating, which would seriously affect the amount of people that can buy them. To make matters worse, loot-boxes are most predatory in games where a significant player base are children, such as FIFA, Madden and the other sport simulators.
Belgium however, declared that video game loot boxes were illegal under their gambling laws, even threatening prison time for Publishers who release games with Loot Boxes in the country. Wow.
In response, many publishers, including Nintendo, just straight up removed some of their games from Belgian stores. When asked about this decision, EA still refused to admit that their loot boxes were gambling, saying "We strongly believe that our games are developed and implemented ethically and lawfully around the world, and take these responsibilities very seriously".
It doesn't exactly paint a good PR image for your company when Belgium threaten to imprison you for releasing your latest gambling simulator.