Fans were thrilled to see a tweet from the gaming conglomerate behind Star Wars Battlefront 2 announcing that in-game purchases were "turned-off" after a massive backlash from the gaming community, but is that really why they removed the in-game "underage gambling" system?
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Today, we turned off in-game purchases for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StarWarsBattlefrontII?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StarWarsBattlefrontII</a>. The game is built on your input, and it will continue to evolve and grow. Read the full update: <a href="https://t.co/asGASaYXVp">https://t.co/asGASaYXVp</a> <a href="https://t.co/vQSOmsWRgk">pic.twitter.com/vQSOmsWRgk</a></p>— EAStarWars (@EAStarWars) <a href="https://twitter.com/EAStarWars/status/931332890717143040?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 17, 2017</a></blockquote>
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EA's decision to turn off in-game purchases comes just 24-hours after the Belgian Gambling Commission announced they would be investigating whether the "loot crate" system in the game should be branded as gambling. A campaign took root on Reddit to protest against the loot crates that raised attention to the undeniable similarities to gambling such as slot machines.
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<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Credit: Reddit</span>
The slow introduction of gambling into video games has evolved into full-fledged casino-like games that take real money to purchase a chance at a random prize. For example, you can spend up to $100 at once in Battlefront 2 to buy "loot crates" that come with random prizes many of which will give you a distinct advantage over other players or be very rare items. This is what it looks like to open one.
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Star Wars Battlefront 2 is not the first game to introduce this model, in fact, Battlefront 2's loot crate system mimics many popular mobile games and several others on all platforms.
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One popular YouTube gamer explained the problem that loot crates present how the business model itself preys upon gambling addicts. One of the most popular games with these in-game loot systems that cost real money is Counter-Strike, the competitive shooter has in-game items worth thousands of dollars and there are many marketplaces to sell the loot.
One thing is certain, we can expect to see a massive shift in the gaming industry as the unbridled greed of companies scrambling to cash in on what amounts to underage gambling marketed to kids is finally called into question. Star Wars Battlefront 2 may have very well been the stick that broke the camel's back and Belgium may set a precedent for how this legal form of gambling is regulated or maybe even banned entirely.
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