Valve disables CS:GO loot boxes in Belgium and the Netherlands | PCGamesN

Valve disables CS:GO loot boxes in Belgium and the Netherlands

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As worldwide regulations start to take aim at loot boxes, developers are making changes to their products in light of those rules. One of those developers is Valve, which has just made a significant change to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - but only in two countries where loot boxes are under fire.

Players in the Netherlands and Belgium “will be restricted from opening containers” following this week’s patch. This will prevent players in those countries from directly engaging with loot boxes, presumably in observance of Dutch and Belgian gambling law. Trading and Marketplace features have been re-enabled in the Netherlands, as well.

So you might not be able to trade your loot properly anymore (if you're Dutch), but Dota 2 is one of the best free Steam games.

Trading had been disabled due to a ruling from the Dutch Gaming Authority, which says that “loot boxes contravene the law if the in-game goods from the loot boxes are transferable. Loot boxes do not contravene the law if the in-game goods from the loot boxes are not transferable.”

With a new solution coming in the form of restrictions on opening crates, it seems that cutting off that "transferable" status will keep Valve from running afoul of international law. Based on the wording in the patch notes, it appears Dutch and Belgian players will still get crates - they just can't open them. 

The question remains whether this will be Valve's final solution to that legal pressure. Players who've had their inventories locked as a result of the initial measure may understandably be questioning how long they'll be able to sell and trade their items, and with potentially hundreds of dollars in skins attached to their accounts you may see an influx of new inventory on the Steam Market with those restrictions lifted.

Last month, a statement appeared in the client read that “In May, [Valve] received two letters from the Dutch Kansspelautoriteit, stating that Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 contain ‘loot boxes’ that violate the Dutch Betting and Gaming Act.”

Valve said that in the wake of those letters, they “hired Dutch legal counsel” and looked into the loot box study published by the Authority. However, a threat from the Gaming Authority to prosecute Valve remained in place “if we don’t implement a remedy by June 20.”

Valve said that “for now our only practical alternative is to disable trading and Steam Marketplace transfers for CS:GO and Dota 2 items for Dutch customers.” They went on to say that “we hope that after more engagement with the [Dutch Gaming Authority], they may refine their legal demands and we can find a solution that is less inconvenient.”

It seems that today's patch is that "less inconvenient" solution.

 

Back in April, the Dutch Gaming Authority gave a handful of developers eight weeks to change their loot box practices, and also called for loot box regulation to be rolled out across the European Union.

You can check out our CS:GO tips if you've been struggling to make the climb up the game's ranked ladders, with hints about the best weapons, how to play CT, and learning the economy.

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Braneman avatarLynkeus avatarAnakhoresis avatar
Braneman Avatar
177
1 Month ago

Oh, so instead of taking responsibility for Loot boxes they just leave the the slot machines open and tell you you can't trade from them anymore. Christ those loot boxes must be a helluva drug for the dealers.

I'd say we need to start talking to Valve like you would somebody who needs to go to rehab, but Valve has a habit of shutting themselves off from the world and judging their success by how much money they make. So naturally they fall into gambling.

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Lynkeus Avatar
48
1 Month ago

Only good side of Steam is now is their good sales and localized currency exchange rates (at least for me, due to where I live). Other than that, alternatives are getting better and better everyday so I would gladly stop using it if I had the choice.

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Anakhoresis Avatar
696
1 Week ago

"Judging their success by how much money they make."

They're a company. That is literally how their success is judged...

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Braneman Avatar
177
1 Week ago

When you're pushing the boundaries of other regulated industries like this under a technicality so hard that you and your competitors are forcing regulations into existence. I cannot for the life of me consider that to be successful so much as short sighted and self destructive.

No public, non-criminal, company on earth would call themselves successful after creating a popular and international effort to stamp their business model out of existence.

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Anakhoresis Avatar
696
1 Week ago

CS:GO has had lootboxes for like 5 years and no one cared. What brought lootboxes to the forefront was when it actually started affecting gameplay (Battlefront 2 being the poster child), which it doesn't in CS:GO. This is also two countries in the world, it's not really a panic situation. It's dubious that regulations will even hold up in many areas of the world because CCGs have been made legally exempt time and time again, and how are they different?

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Braneman Avatar
177
Braneman replied to Anakhoresis
1 Week ago

Nobody looked into them during those 5 years and Valve doesn't release numbers. Just because a problem is obfuscated doesn't mean it's not still a problem. Opioids were a huge problem for years but people weren't bringing it to the forefront, that doesn't mean that opioids weren't a problem until they reached national attention. Stating that people ignored a problem doesn't mean we should go back to ignoring the problem.

Not only that but these regulations are popping up here in the US as well and more than just these two countries have started to seriously look into loot boxes even in just the EU, it's even showing up in Japan with a class action lawsuit.

I think one of the key differences between loot boxes and trading cards is that loot boxes are artificial. As demonstrated by crate opening sites you can adjust the odds however you want internally on your own servers where people cannot verify if you're being honest. A CCG pack is there in the package and you can't turn on happy hour for a streamer to pull in people and then give them garbage.

Another MASSSIVE difference is that opening up trading cards isn't framed to be literally a one column slot machine like it is in CS:GO. They're just there and they aren't trying to deliberately copy existing gambling systems.

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