Valve released a statement regarding the Dutch Gaming Authority ruling on loot boxes as a form of gambling. The Dutch Gaming Authority had ruled against Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 regarding the loot boxes in each game, as well as the marketplaces surrounding the skin commodities obtained from the loot boxes.
Valve responded to the legal ruling by shutting down the Steam Marketplace and trading services around each game for Dutch players.
In CS:GO in particular, players can purchase cases (loot boxes) which need to be unlocked with a Key. The keys themselves are an additional cost, and the cases have a random chance to drop an item players want. Valve directly makes a profit off of the purchases of cases and keys, and does everything in its power to subtly persuade people to buy them.
The CS:GO cases scroll the possible loot by like a slot machine, and players can see just what rare items are spinning by. If they land on something one slot away from the rare item, it could make someone think they're very lucky and possibly purchase more, just like a real casino slot machine. Getting a rare item can be an incredibly intense emotional experience, and only serves to encourage the player to purchase more cases and keys.
Valve had decided on the day before the legal deadline to enact their "temporary solution" of shutting down the service. Despite having actually been notified on April 19, Valve decided to until the last possible day to enact any sort of solution. CS:GO and Dota 2 players were given absolutely no warning that the trading and marketplace would get shut down for those games. Players were no longer able to trade skins to friends, or purchase a skin for themselves off the Marketplace.
In the final part of their statement, Valve puts the onus of on the Dutch Gaming Authority, stating that "We hope that, after more engagement with the Kansspelautoriteit, they may refine their legal demands and we can find a solution that is less inconvenient." This statement is disingenuous, as the Dutch Gaming Authority had clearly stated their legal demands, requiring Valve and other developers to alter the functionality of in game loot boxes.
Valve could have done that in any number of ways, from restricting the loot boxes to those 18 years or older, or to stop selling Steam Currency gift cards in stores. Instead, Valve unfairly ended the Steam Marketplace for Dutch players, leaving thousands without the opportunity to buy, trade, or sell any items before they couldn't.
Cover photo courtesy of Valve