Loot boxes are the demons of the gaming industry, with players pushing back against them and publishers still insisting on throwing them into almost every game on the market.
The exchange of real-world cash for a randomised stash of in-game goodies, such as skins and weapons, has been heavily criticised over the last couple of years, with lots of people – and countries – classing them as a form of unregulated gambling.
Now it seems that the UK might next to ban loot boxes in video games, after members of Parliament warned against the problems they can cause.
MPs from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee have called for a ban on the sale of loot boxes to children, as well as the regulation of their distribution under the Gambling Act [via Independent].
Committee chair Damian Collins said: “Loot boxes are particularly lucrative for games companies but come at a high cost, particularly for problem gamblers, while exposing children to potential harm,
“Buying a loot box is playing a game of chance and it is high time the gambling laws caught up. We challenge the government to explain why loot boxes should be exempt from the Gambling Act.”
The UK Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur said earlier this year that loot boxes are difficult to regulate, and it’s something that’s going to need some serious consideration.
“The Gambling Act tells us that gambling means playing a game of chance for a prize, and you can certainly see circumstances where a loot box might fall within that definition, but where things become a bit more complicated are when one looks at the definition of prize, and prize is defined as being money or money’s worth,” McArthur said.
“What that means is that the prize must mean something that is equivalent to money.”
The debate continues as more and more countries take a stand against loot boxes in gaming.
Featured Image Credit: Blizzard