Several weeks ago in response to the huge uproar over Star Wars Battlefront 2, the country of Belgium instituted a ban on microtransactions on games sold within the country. However, 2K Belgian microtransactions aren’t something that 2k Games is giving up on yet with NBA 2K19, to the point that they’re lobbying.
Even in a country as small as Belgium, a total ban on microtransactions in an area can mean the loss of thousands or even millions of dollars, especially with sports games, which are some of the most popular genres in video gaming. Thus, to try and protect their bottom line, 2K is asking players to lobby the Belgian government to re-allow microtransactions in video games, particularly in its upcoming NBA 2K19.
Belgium took action against loot boxes and 2K Belgian microtransactions after the uproar over Star Wars Battlefront 2, which brought concerns that loot boxes counted as gambling and were predatory on younger gamers in order to access more content after it came out that players had to either grind credits or buy them to afford heroes like Darth Vader, Darth Maul, and more.
After a few months of debate, Belgium put the lid on that sort of thing in their country by banning the practice of “blind” loot boxes where you wouldn’t see what you’d get. Other organizations such as PEGI coming up with a new icon that warned about in-game purchases also appeared.
A similar incident played out in the aftermath of EA Games’s release of a “sequel” to Dungeon Keeper, which played agonizingly slowly and repeatedly encouraged players to buy gems with real money in order to speed up digging. The game would lead to new legislation saying that all apps with in-game purchases had to have a warning in the app store.
One can only hope that most gamers will make this have the opposite effect and have gamers want to make the bans on loot boxes more difficult, especially with 2K Belgian microtransactions.