Recently, an amazing incident occurred in Austria related to the popular game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). An Austrian player sued Valve, the developer of CS:GO, demanding a refund of more than $15 thousand that was spent on opening game cases. According to the court’s decision, the loot box mechanics used in CS:GO were considered illegal gambling, and Valve was required to pay damages to the player.
This case caused a wide resonance, as it is the first of its kind in Austria. The law firm representing the plaintiff, Padronus, has previously handled similar cases against the developers of other popular games such as FIFA and Call of Duty.
According to Austrian law, loot box providers must have a gambling license. However, this activity in the country is monopolized by Casino Austria AG, which has the only permit to provide online gambling services.
Director Padronus noted that the judge hearing the case was familiar with the world of Counter-Strike, which greatly simplified the understanding of the essence of the problem. As a result, Valve was found guilty of creating gambling games and was obliged to return to the player the amount spent on cases.
Valve has the opportunity to appeal within four weeks of the court’s decision. However, a Padronus representative expressed confidence in the practical uselessness of such a step on Valve’s part. In the absence of an appeal, the court’s decision will enter into legal force.
This legal outcome with Valve and CS:GO brought attention to the legal side of game mechanics, raising questions about the legality of using loot boxes in games. This decision could set a precedent and impact video game developers around the world.