Not officially of course, this is what we dubbed what happened in the Netherlands after their gaming commissioned ordered Valve to remove loot boxes as it determined them to be, to surprise of nobody, gambling.
So in the 1:0 for the good guys news, the news I don’t often get to indulge in, you know already that Valve rolled back loot boxes in CS: Go completely following the report of the Dutch gaming commission. On a side note, it’s fascinating how Valve though tooth and nail to the last moment claiming that they “don’t know how to disable the loot boxes” but when push came to shove it did turn out to be as easy as pushing a button.
But CS: Go is the only Valve’s game that has been affected, Dota 2 reportedly also now discloses the contents of loot boxes to players before you purchase them. You don’t get to pick a different loot box, so if you don’t like what you’re getting you can not buy it but you’re not gonna get anything else until you buy that loot box.
Which has an appropriately demoralizing effect on players. It’s arguable how much of change it is of course, as one could argue you’re still technically gambling, you’re just changing the scale a bit. But seeing the bigger picture is already having a great effect. That’s why I call it “degrees of gambling”. As it’s still maybe gambling, but not as much gambling as it used to be.
And of course there’s still an issue in that this is so far happening only in Netherlands, but players everywhere are pretty unanimous in thinking “yeah, we want something like this here too, chop chop Valve”.
Which might just turn online shops into good old cosmetics shops. We’ll see. Exciting time to live in.