UK Government Won’t Slap Laws On Loot Boxes, Says Industry Should Police Itself

The UK min­is­te­r­i­al Dep­tar­ment for Dig­i­tal, Cul­ture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) released results from its inves­ti­ga­tion into loot box­es and announced that the UK gov­ern­ment does not plan on reg­u­lat­ing the ser­vice. The report cit­ed the pos­si­bil­i­ty of unin­tend­ed effects if the gov­ern­ment were to inter­fere, ongo­ing research, and indus­try self-polic­ing as rea­sons for not bring­ing reg­u­la­tions in the form of legislation.

In 2020, the DCMS called for evi­dence on the effect of loot box­es in order to see if it required reg­u­la­tion and/or gov­ern­ment pol­i­cy. The gath­ered evi­dence includ­ed a play­er sur­vey of over 32,000 respons­es, 50 sub­mis­sions from the games indus­try, researchers and third-par­ty orga­ni­za­tions, along with an inde­pen­dent rapid evi­dence assess­ment con­duct­ed by the Inno­va­tion for Games and Media Enter­prise (InGame). You can check out the DCMS’ report and the evi­dence assess­ment from InGame on the UK gov­ern­men­t’s offi­cial website.

The report states, “The call for evi­dence has found an asso­ci­a­tion between loot box­es and harms, but we have not found whether there is a causative link.” It went on fur­ther to say the research is incom­plete and that “it is dif­fi­cult to dis­ag­gre­gate which loot box imple­men­ta­tions may be par­tic­u­lar­ly prob­lem­at­ic.” The evi­dence was devel­oped along­side the review of the Gam­bling Act, but that par­tic­u­lar piece of leg­is­la­tion won’t be updat­ed right now.

The DCMS did reveal plans for more research and gov­ern­ment action. The report did sug­gest video game devel­op­ers come up with their own poli­cies, say­ing, “our view is that chil­dren and young peo­ple should not be able to pur­chase loot box­es with­out parental approval.” Play­ers should also have access to trans­par­ent infor­ma­tion about the box­es they are pur­chas­ing, along with spend­ing con­trols. The DCMS will com­pile a tech­ni­cal work­ing group to assist video game com­pa­nies in self-reg­u­la­tion. It will also launch a new Video Games Research Frame­work to gath­er fur­ther find­ings. If the indus­try does not self-police in the prop­er man­ner, the DCMS “will not hes­i­tate to con­sid­er leg­isla­tive change.”

I am a Platinum lover and an ex- Cod-aholic. I've been playing games since I was 5 years old and I refuse to quit, despite my mother's attempts to get me to. God of War and its successors are my all time favorite games.

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