Is Apex Legends, the popular new battle royale shooter game, actually part of a scheme by the Belgian Conspiracy for world domination? New developments suggest it is.
A brief overview for non-gamers: A while back, video game developers came up with the idea of a "loot box", a virtual prize box that when "opened" would have a random chance of giving the player various in-game items. Since the games that employ loot boxes tend to be multiplayer ones, these items usually involve some means to customize a player's appearance or behavior (skins, emotes, voice lines, etc.), allowing players to differentiate themselves from and show off to other players -- a desirable thing in games built around social interactions.
While often these boxes can be earned in game, that usually involves "grinding", i.e. playing the game over time to slowly earn points toward a loot box. The developers, ostensibly out of benevolence, offer players the "freedom" to bypass this grinding by paying for loot boxes with real money. At the same time, developers made their games more "grindy" by intentionally making the loot-box-earning gameplay tedious or by adding lots of unwanted in-game items that lower the chance of players winning desirable ones. All of this not only encourages impatient wealthy players ("whales" in game developer speak) to pay money to skip the grind, but triggers those susceptible to addictive gambling behavior into paying more than they can afford.
That last point has caused controversy outside of the gaming community. Governments have started to look into whether loot boxes are a form of illegal gambling (you pay real money for the chance to win a virtual profit). Some have declared that they are, and have forced game publishers to remove or alter those gambling elements in order to legally sell games in their respective jurisdictions.
At the forefront of this declaration of loot-boxes-as-gambling is Belgium, whose Gaming Commission last year determined that three popular loot-boxed games were "games of chance" and that "publishers could therefore be subject to fines and prison sentences under the country's gaming legislation".
For new readers who may have come to my site via social media links resulting from my talking about super-trendy Apex Legends, let me bluntly clarify why this is notable: BELGIUM DOESN'T EXIST! It is a fictitious nation that has no physically presence in the real world -- contrary to what maps show, France and the Netherlands share a border. Belgian "citizens" are people who have been kidnapped from around the world, transported to a facility deep under Eurodisneyland, and strapped into sensory-overriding citizen pods linked to an advanced virtual reality Belgium Construct. Here they are brainwiped and their identities replaced with new Belgian ones.
The Belgian Conspiracy has for decades been trying to both trick people into believing that Belgium exists as some sort of utopia and to recruit new Belgian "citizens", with their ultimate goal the complete and total Belgification of the humanosphere.
So how does this stance on loot boxes benefit the Belgian Conspiracy? Recent news about Apex Legends has just exposed their devious scheme:
Apex Legends has loot boxes, with all the problems noted above. Because of the ruling by the Belgian Gaming Commission, the game's developer, EA, cannot legally offer the same random loot boxes to people "in" Belgium that they offer elsewhere. Instead, "Belgians" get boxes with "crafting materials", which can be used to directly (if slowly) get the items the player wants, with no chance involved.
Yesterday, EA introduced an Apex Legends "Battle Pass" (another common money making scheme too tedious to explain here, the details of which are not important). Players quickly discovered that if, when buying the Battle Pass, they select Belgium as their location, they would get the special non-gambling loot boxes, which, on average, are a better deal.
The Belgian Conspiracy has effectively tricked the gaming industry into bribing people into declaring themselves Belgians!
As society moves more and more toward the virtual, with our online personas having more influence -- more reality -- than our physical ones, your virtual nationality will have more importance than your actual location. It's only a matter of time until the concept of nationality is replaced with something like gaming's "season pass" -- governments as "live services" that you subscribe to based on the DLC (downloadable constitutions?) they offer. Getting people to link their online presence to Belgium will increase the power and influence the Belgian Conspiracy has over this online world.
Moreover, if their goal is indeed the mass conversion of humanity to Belgian-ness, the Belgian Conspiracy will need to stop relying so much on physically warehousing catatonic humans. Their catacombs under Eurodisneyland can only hold so many citizen pods; and even with their expansions under Hong Kong and Shanghai, they will not be able to meet their population targets -- and that's not even considering the problems they've been having with loss from black mold. Ultimately, the future isn't in kidnapping people's bodies; it's in getting people to voluntarily surrender their minds.
By positioning their "nation" as the one that will get you the best loot in the most popular games, the Belgian Conspiracy is making a power play for the allegiance of the gaming youth, and hence the future of virtual nationality.