Star Wars Battlefront 2 loot boxes have stirred up quite a controversy down in New Zealand. The Department of Internal Affairs along with New Zealand’s Gambling Compliance Office has sent an official letter to Gamasutra regarding the incident; “Loot boxes do not meet the definition of gambling.”
The department has also stated that the loot boxes do not meet the legal requirement of being a tool for gambling under their 2003 Gambling Act. New Zealand is among many other countries who are currently reluctant to pass any major comment towards the matter as the issue is still being looked into by authorities. As the matter is in fact fairly new, there is no such legislature that can help resolve the case.
Trish Millard from New Zealand’s Gambling Compliance office stated, “Gamers do not purchase loot boxes seeing to win money or something that can be converted into money. They buy loot boxes so that they can use their contents to win the game and thereby have a better gaming experience.”
Put simply these countries are arguing that since loot boxes are only valuable to gamers for a better gaming experience, their real value outside the virtual world is nothing; they cannot be sold for authentic money.
They aren’t the same as poker chips hence they do not come in the same category.
The real problem comes when gamers say that the loot boxes did not provide a “better gaming experience,” so why can’t they be sold? Loot boxes can still lead to other forms of gambling like skin betting and you can read all about that here.
Hopefully, for the Star Wars Battlefront franchise the bad press will die down and policymakers will work their magic so that sales don’t falter.
Let us know what you think about this issue and whether or not this should be considered gambling.