Loot Boxes in Games Are Gambling and Should Be Banned
UK MPs are urging the gaming industry to ban loot boxes from children. The government is considering them a form of gambling and wants to protect, and all players from spending real money on virtual items, as loot boxes are.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) has filed a report based on the addictive nature of video games, which was evidenced in various big tech companies, such as the makers of Fortnite, Epic Games.
What is a Loot Box?
A loot box is a treasure chest that can be bought for real money The box contains random objects that are not revealed until the box is open. The aim of these boxes is to give the player helpful objects that can aid their progress in the game or improve their character in one way or another.
They can also be earned through playing, challenges or competitions. These are no issues, as they are part of the game. However, the fact that the items are randomized and not revealed until the money has already been paid, is the MP’s concern. The temptation to get a “game-changing” item is real. On the other hand, there are a great number of stories online about players who paid huge bills, without any luck.
There are also worries about the financial and psychological effects this can have on players.
What Does the DCMS Report Ask For?
The report asks for stricter regulations for gambling around loot boxes. But that is not all. The DCMS also asks for improved labeling of video games. These labels should include clear warnings for parents showing that the game contains a gambling element in the form of loot boxes.
The report also explains that gaming companies should take more responsibility for the psychological and financial impact they can cause. It was suggested companies pay an extra tax, with this money going into the study of the effects gaming, can have on a person in the long-term.
Are Loot Boxes Gambling?
This is a grey area that is being highly discussed within the gaming community. There is plenty of conversation happening about what is actually under the umbrella of gambling. Online casinos such as GetLucky Casino are under government gambling legislation.
Loot boxes are a game of chance, and thus purchasing a box is taking a risk. The UK government’s definition is not clear on these types of games of chance, such are loot boxes, mostly due to there being no real-life monetary value to the objects being purchased.
The idea has been compared to Kinder Eggs, where you spend money without knowing what toy you will get. Another argument is that banning them will make them more attractive and sending them underground. There are already reports of “Black Markets” which sell contents of loot boxes.
Banning loot boxes because they are a concern for one demographic of the gaming community does not sound like a guaranteed solution. However, better regulations do need to be put in place to change the “pay to win” culture.