According to a new statement from Belgian Minister of Justice Koen Geens, Belgium is now defining video game loot boxes a form of criminal gambling and developers of games that have systems that violate their laws can face fines and prison sentences if the loot box systems are not removed from the game.
So far, the Belgium government’s investigation has only spanned four games: Star Wars Battlefront II, Overwatch, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and FIFA 18. The new legislation indicates that Overwatch, CSGO, and FIFA 18 are in violation of the law, while EA has made enough changes to Star Wars Battlefront II’s loot system to no longer consider it in violation of the law.
“Paying loot boxes are not an innocent part of video games that present themselves as games of skill,” Gaming Commission Director Peter Naessens added in a statement. “Players are tempted and misled, and none of the protective measures for gambling are applied.”
The criteria that the Belgian government used to evaluate the games were:
- Emotional profit forecast: uncertainty loot box is linked to profit forecast;
- A player may think that the purchase of a loot box has an advantage, which is not always the case
- Confusion of fiction and reality: well-known real persons promote the most expensive loot boxes;
- Use your own coin system: for a real amount, players can buy in-game coins;
- Apparently infinite methods to deposit money on player accounts;
- Hide from the random generator or at least its opacity.
According to the new statement, “the games with paid loot boxes, as currently offered in our country, are therefore in violation of the gaming legislation and can be dealt with under criminal law. The loot boxes must therefore also be removed. If that does not happen, the operators risk a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to 800,000 euros.”
Call of Duty was not investigated, as of now, in the Belgium government’s initial study of loot boxes influence in video games. Some aspects of Call of Duty’s loot box systems do seem to violate some of the conditions that the new Belgium legislation sets forth, but no indication as of now from Belgium government if they are expanding their review to other games. For example, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3’s loot box system is the most ‘pay to win’ system in the Call of Duty franchise, locking all weapons behind the drops, without revealing the chances of getting items to players. Players can earn access to drops via playing the game or by purchasing in-game currency.
Following Star Wars Battlefront II’s debacle in November, many countries — including the US — has been evaluating new laws and requirements to set forth to avoid gambling addiction for kids playing these video games.
Activision merges Vicarious Visions into Blizzard Entertainment
Activision owned Vicarious Visions will now be part of Blizzard Entertainment division.
Activision has announced that one of their wholly owned studios, Vicarious Visions, will no longer be part of the Activision Publishing division.
The company has revealed that Vicarious Visions will be fully merged into Blizzard Entertainment division of the company effective immediately.
Vicarious Visions has worked on many titles and projects for Activision, including Skylanders, Destiny franchise, supported development of select Call of Duty games, and more. Most recently, the studio developed and released remasters of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2. The studio was listed as a support developer of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.
In a statement to GamesIndustry, Blizzard says the studio becomes a “natural fit” after working on several Blizzard projects behind the scenes for the last several years.
“After collaborating with Vicarious Visions for some time and developing a great relationship, Blizzard realized there was an opportunity for [Vicarious Visions] to provide long-term support,” a representative explained to us.
It’s not truly clear how long Vicarious has been supporting Blizzard projects.
Vicarious Visions’ studio head Jen Oneal has been promoted to be Executive VP of Development at Blizzard Entertainment as part of the merger. She will report directly to Blizzard President J. Allen Barrack. All 200 Vicarious Vision employees will be part of Blizzard and work on Blizzard projects.
Her role is being replaced by Simon Ebejer, who was previously the Chief Operating Officer of the studio. It’s not clear what projects within Blizzard they are working on. Blizzard has multiple projects in the works, including Overwatch 2, Diablo 4, and more.
Clever Warzone tricks lets you land without a parachute
A few players have discovered a fun little trick in Call of Duty Warzone that allows them to touch down on Verdansk without a parachute.
There is a useful trick that you can use in a Call of Duty: Warzone match to break your fall while in mid-air. This will allow you to land safely in Verdansk without worrying about deploying your parachute.
Call of Duty: Warzone will pit you against a ton of other players in a highly competitive Battle Royale match. The instant you land in Verdansk, you’ll have to find ways to get ahead of your enemies through different weapons or gear, scoring killstreaks, and even making use of glitches.
Players have discovered many different maneuvers in the game since its release in March 2020. These grant you an advantage over your opponent, including one that has you take out enemies by firing in mid-air.
This will have you deploy your parachute when you’re near the ground, and is a great way to score kills in mid-air. Now a neat new trick has been discovered that removes the need for a parachute altogether.
How to land in Warzone without a parachute
This trick was pointed out by Reddit user Thexer0, who posted a clip of them dropping into Verdansk in the Call of Duty: Warzone subreddit. Here they showed that you are able to land on different surfaces without deploying your parachute.
- Read more: Best Warzone Rebirth Island landing spots
Al you need to do is try hitting certain edges and surfaces in mid-air to break the fall before landing on your feet. In the clip, the player used a Satellite dish for this purpose, and slid off the curved edge before taking out their weapon.
While this trick is useful, it’s not guaranteed to work unless you’re precise with your landing. If you don’t hit the right type of surface, then you’ll find yourself in a world of hurt. The player pointed this out and mentioned that you should try this “at your own risk.”
That said, this trick is absolutely worth trying out. Other players also commented on the thread about their own attempts at this neat little exploit, and many of them reported that it worked out successfully for them.
One Reddit user said “You can do it as well with some of the telephone/electrical towers,” and another mentioned “It works on stones and stuff too. You gotta land on the edges, something around 45 degrees.”
Parachutes are a vital component in Warzone matches, so you should definitely go for this trick. All it takes to succeed in pulling it off is some practice, along with a ton of patience. You can learn some more helpful tricks in our Warzone tips and tricks guide.
Image Credits: Activision
Treyarch dev Tony Flame’s Twitter account hacked
On this Christmas morning, Treyarch’s Lead Designer, Tony Flame, has had his Twitter hacked.
A user hacked Tony Flame’s Twitter account in the early morning hours of December 25, and has gone on a posting rampage, including posting racial slurs and more across the account. The hacker is @wixyV3.
We’re not going to showcase posts here with any racial slurs. The Twitter account has been locked by Twitter for the amount of slurs the hackers have posted, per images sent around in Discord servers.
One of the hacked tweets that has gone viral is about SBMM, asking Activision to remove it from his “game” he “worked hard to make.”
The account still remains hacked at this hour, but it does appear that tweets are being blocked from posting at this time. Twitter locked the account due to the content being posted.
Tony Flame’s account is not verified on the platform.
Flame has been active in posting since Black Ops Cold War’s alpha launched back in September. He’s been posting updates and thoughts around what the team is doing in terms of balancing and content updates.
The last tweet from Flame himself was a Merry Christmas post on the night of December 24.
Activision has not stated anything yet on this hack.
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