The British Government has officially opened up its investigation into loot boxes in gaming, and whether they fall afoul of the Gambling Act, and is calling for evidence (both positive and negative) which it will base any further actions on.
Back in June, we reported that the Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport select committee was recommending a call for evidence regarding loot boxes, and the House of Lords insisted less than a month later that they be brought under the umbrella of the Gambling Act. The newest call for evidence is coming from Her Majesty’s Government as a whole, rather than from a specific committee.
A submission form can be found on the Government’s website. Gamers, as well as parents of younger gamers, are invited to fill out the form and provide testimony on their experiences. Game developers and publishers, academic entities, and other organizations are also invited to provide “rigorous, high-quality data and research” on the subject. The deadline for all submissions is November 22, 2020.
Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Digital and Culture, stated, “Our valued video game industry is making good progress developing safer environments for our children to play in, such as parental controls that can be set to schedule and limit playtime. But we’ve listened to parents’ concerns about loot boxes and it’s right that we fully examine and understand any evidence of the harm or links to problem gambling they can cause, so we can decide if action is needed.”
Food For Thought
Loot boxes and how they are implemented is a question which is fraught with potentially adverse effects whether the British Government (or any government) decides to intervene or not. It’s unlikely that the industry or the gaming public is going to forget the debacle behind Star Wars: Battlefront II. But lack of regulation can be just as much of a problem as too much regulation. Too little, and companies will inevitably repeat the Battlefront II fiasco. Too much, and any sort of randomized loot from Diablo to Warframe could theoretically be impacted.