Rocket League has issued a patch removing loot boxes in two countries, in order to abide by local laws forbidding the practice. With the 1.61 patch, players in both Belgium and the Netherlands are no longer able to open crates with earned keys “due to government regulations.”
Last year in response to concerns raised by games like Star Wars Battlefront 2, both countries declared that loot boxes constitute gambling and are therefore illegal. The governments of the countries determined that the practice could entice minors to gamble. In January, EA removed FIFA Points in Belgium for the same reason.
Some countries have outlawed the practice, but it’s far from settled across the board. New Zealand and France have both determined that loot boxes are not gambling, and investigations are still ongoing in the United States and Australia. That has left the practice inconsistent, as in the case of Rocket League and FIFA, where developers allow the microtransactions in some countries but not others.
In February, a US Senator wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission criticizing the practice as predatory. Shortly after, the FTC announced a public workshop but declined to comment if it was conducting any formal investigation.
Last year, the ESRB responded to the growing concerns by announcing new labeling tools to more clearly identify games with loot boxes and similar microtransaction schemes.