Gamers win this fight.
Folks, we won. After Belgium confirmed last week that it would be investigating charges of unregulated gambling in popular video games such as Overwatch, thanks to the Star Wars Battlefront 2 controversy, they have come out with their decision- loot boxes are indeed gambling, they say, and they will move to have them banned in the European Union.
This is fantastic news for multiple reasons- if loot boxes are illegal in Europe, then publishers will have two options- either develop two versions of their games (one with loot boxes, one without), or forego a release in Europe (therefore, half the market for most western publishers) entirely. Therefore, unless publishers literally want to spend the money on balancing and QAing two progression paths for their games, they will have no chance but to remove loot boxes from their titles- if this regulation passes.
Now, this regulation probably will pass- for instance, the in game Game Corners in Pokemon games (representations of casinos with in game slots, that used only in game currency for in game payouts) were removed from all Pokemon titles after 2009, on charges of promoting gambling- this is a far more egregious and serious situation than that.
In other words- we may be looking at the end of loot boxes in games soon. Looks like EA’s egregious monetization of Star Wars Battlefront 2 was good for something after all.