UK parliamentarians have called for banning loot boxes and all video games featuring such reward mechanisms. The British MPs have urged for a complete ban on all such games which is accessible by children.
Demanding that loot boxes be regulated under the Gambling Act the UK lawmakers have said that loot boxes are a game of chance and are nothing but gambling.
In its report, The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) parliamentary committee has made recommendations following an investigation into such games and technologies.
Loot Boxes are unique features in video games and apps which allow a user to unlock rewards upon payment or after performing a particular task. Earlier in July this year, UKGC in a statement said that it doesn’t consider loot boxes as gambling.
In a summary of the report, it says that “The potential harms outlined in this report can be considered the direct result of the way in which the ‘attention economy’ is driven by the objective of maximizing user engagement.”
It also explores “how data-rich immersive technologies are driven by business models that combine people’s data with design practices to have powerful psychological effects”.
“Data on how long people play games for is essential to understand what normal and healthy — and, conversely, abnormal and potentially unhealthy — engagement with gaming looks like. Games companies collect this information for their own marketing and design purposes; however, in evidence to us, representatives from the games industry were wilfully obtuse in answering our questions about typical patterns of play,” it writes.
“Although the vast majority of people who play games find it a positive experience, the minority who struggle to maintain control over how much they are playing experience serious consequences for them and their loved ones. At present, the games industry has not sufficiently accepted responsibility for either understanding or preventing this harm. Moreover, both policy-making and potential industry interventions are being hindered by a lack of robust evidence, which in part stems from companies’ unwillingness to share data about patterns of play.”