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Valve may have found a way around Dutch loot box laws for Dota 2

Published: 17:59, 25 July 2018
Dota 2 cover image
Dota 2 cover image
Dota 2

It seems like loot boxes from Dota 2 are making a comeback in Netherlands after being completely blocked. Players are now posting pictures of supposedly transparent loot boxes, but it really just looks like gambling with extra steps.

Valve's workaround for the anti gambling laws in Netherlands is actually rather easy and, sadly, effective. The law ruled loot boxes as gambling in part because players didn't know what they were getting for their purchase. A new post on reddit has surfaced, showing the way loot box interface looks now.

As you can see in the picture below, it is fully visible what the player will get if they purchase The International 2018 Collector's Cache. Sounds and looks great, right? No gambling if you see what you're getting. The catch is that players are no longer gambling only on the first loot box they purchase, as they have no idea what they might get from the ones purchased afterwards.

To clarify, if a player buys a loot box they saw contents of, they will be able to see the contents of the next one, but not before they spend the money on the first one. Therefore, if a player wants a very rare skin that's included in a loot box, and it's not contained in the first box in queue, they still don't know if their money will end up wasted.

Loot boxes will effectively remain a gambling game, as players will be gambling on the contents of loot boxes past the first one, but they will not be classified as gambling due to the first one's transparency. The system will retain its predatory practices, but unless Netherlands manages to alter its legislations each time gaming companies pull such workarounds, they will not be able to stop companies from selling glorified digital slot machines.

Valve may have just opened Pandora's (loot?) box, as there is nothing to stop other video game companies from adopting this system of transparent-but-not-really loot boxes. Unfortunately, whatever they find in Pandora's box, it is certain to lower the quality of player experience.

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