UK Government Needs You To Explain Why Loot Boxes Suck
Loot boxes are in the news once again, but this time, the UK Government is asking the public for their thoughts on this thorny issue.
This will be the evidence that forms the basis of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee's inquiry into immersive and addictive technologies. In other countries, loot boxes have already been regulated in various ways. For example, the Belgian Gaming Commission stated that loot boxes violate the country's gambling laws and must be removed from the game, or the publisher will be fined up to €800,000. Additionally, the Netherlands gaming authority Kansspelautoriteit argued that loot boxes "foster[ed] the development of addiction," and must be "addiction sensitive" by preventing players from opening one loot box after the other.
Now, with the "experiences of players and their parents or guardians as well as rigorous, high quality data and research from video games companies, academia, civil society as well as any other organisations with an interest in this issue," the DCMS Committee aims to bolster their investigation into how loot boxes should be categorised. The feedback form is available through the official UK Government website here, along with all of the according information about the inquiry. Submissions close on 22 November, and with players and publishers both able to weigh in on the debate, I imagine there will be a lot of responses.
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In a report published by the House of Lords in July, it found that young people are "most at risk" of becoming problem gamblers. "Esports represents the largest growth opportunity for sports gambling and presents a particular worry, as its players and spectators are young," it continued, and cited academic research which connects loot box spending with problem gambling. Regulator Pegi also introduced a new label which alerts purchasers that the product contains "random paid items."
Following "a clearer understanding of the size of the loot box and in-game purchases market in the UK, how it operates, and the impact of current protections such as parental controls and consumer regulations" from this call for evidence, this report may well lead to an extensive overhaul of loot boxes in all of their forms in the UK.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay, Activision-Blizzard