Brazil Goes to War With Loot Boxes, $700,000+ Daily Fines On the Table
Brazil isn’t the first country to look at the dangers of loot boxes, but they are the most recent. The Brazilian authorities launched an inquiry, ultimately aimed at banning lootboxes across the nation. This comes at the behest of the ANCED (National Association of Child and Adolescent Defense Centers). The reason for this is the ANCED argues that loot boxes are a form of gambling – which is illegal in Brazil. If true, it could really dampen the hold that mobile, free-to-play games have in Brazil, like Free Fire. These games would have to change their monetization practices to something less predatory.
Brazil Loot Boxes: Many Companies Are Targeted
Now, this hasn’t been put into action yet. Brazil hasn’t banned loot boxes yet, but it sounds like things could certainly go that way. There are quite a few major companies targeted in the process. Activision, Electronic Arts, Riot Games, Garena, Nintendo, Konami, Valve, Ubisoft, Tencent, Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Sony.
Virtually every major company with free-to-play or loot boxes that are played in Brazil is being targeted. Every game from Free Fire to Overwatch. This movement/suit by the ANCED is a serious deal to boot. A Brazilian website, The Enemy, had access to the process against Free Fire’s devs, Garena. If the loot box ban goes through in Brazil, Garena is looking at daily fines of up to about $4M BRL (roughly $706K USD).
It’s important to note the process hasn’t been finalized, and loot boxes aren’t banned in Brazil just yet. The aforementioned companies aren’t required to remove their loot boxes just yet, but it sounds like they need to figure out a plan, in case this comes to pass.
With all of the above companies having major titles across esports, if they pulled access for the nation of Brazil to avoid the serious daily fines, the esports scene in Brazil could be irrevocably altered. However, these companies could just find another way to monetize, offering their skins for set fees, removing the gambling nature of loot boxes.
There has been a lot of chatter about loot boxes over the past couple of years. Overwatch had to publish their drop rate percentages, and constant talk has been made about the pay-to-win nature of FIFA. Several countries had access to FIFA’s FUT (Fifa Ultimate Team) competitive mode removed for this reason. We’ll have to see what these companies do if loot boxes are banned in Brazil.