Loot boxes are back under UK government scrutiny


High Stakes

The British government has called for new evidence clarifying whether or not video game loot boxes encourage gambling behaviour in children. The recurring investigation could potentially lead to new legislation on how games which feature “surprise mechanics” will be age-rated.

As reported by The Guardian, popular titles such as Electronic Arts’ FIFA 20a massive seller in the UK – could end up plastered with an “18” certificate, or face forced alteration, if loot box mechanics such as “Ultimate Team” are officially designated a form of gambling. This motion previously carried in Belgium back in 2019, where it is now impossible to purchase Ultimate Team packs with real-world currency in-game.

The government’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has said it decided to re-evaluate the case partly due to Britain’s current lockdown status.

“During the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen more people than ever before turn to video games and immersive technology to keep them entertained and to stay in touch with friends and family,” said DMCS’ minister Caroline Dinenage. “These innovations can present challenges though as well as opportunities, which is why we are taking the necessary steps to protect users and promote the safe enjoyment of this dynamic industry.”

UK government to call for evidence on loot boxes [GamesIndustry.biz]