Loot boxes in video games


 Worldwide action against monetisation of video games



 

Game makers to self regulate BUT will be effectively banned if they don't do what he says...

US state lawmaker calls for games with loot boxes to be given a 21+ age rating


Link Here 1st December 2017
Full story: Loot boxes in video games...Worldwide action against monetisation of video games
Hawaii State Representative Sean Quinlan has advocated for self-regulation of loot boxes by the video game industry whilst also suggesting that such games should carry a 21+ age rating.

He said that ultimately, it's best for the industry to self-police. The ideal solution would be for the game industry to stop having gambling or gambling-like mechanics in games that are marketed to kids... BUT ... he believes games makers should be held accountable. The ESRB would need to enforce higher-grade ratings and other labels to distinguish games that rely on predatory monetization. As an example, he said that the ESRB could say that if a game has loot crates, it gets a 21-plus rating.

The Entertainment Software Association is proving resistant, however. Their response ran along the same lines as many publishers, asserting that loot boxes are a voluntary feature and that the gamer makes the decision in regards to their purchase .

 

 

Lucky bags...

Apple now requires games in its app store to reveal odds of getting various items in a loot box


Link Here 24th December 2017
Full story: Loot boxes in video games...Worldwide action against monetisation of video games

Apple has changed the rules around how games on its app store use loot boxes.

These boxes are random rewards for gameplay and often give players benefits and power-ups that can be used in games.

In a change to its developer guidelines, Apple said games must now let players know the odds of getting particular items in the boxes. In the updated guidelines, Apple said any in-game mechanism that rewards players with randomised virtual items must list the odds of receiving each type of item. In addition, it said, customers must be informed of these odds before they buy the boxes or rewards.

Many games offer extras to players that can change the appearance of the game, introduce new characters or bestow power-ups that help people as they play. Some titles let people buy loot boxes with in-game funds they generate by playing or by spending real money to purchase the game's virtual cash.

 

 

Banning lucky bags...

Germany and Sweden to consider banning loot boxes from video games played by children


Link Here 7th February 2018
Full story: Loot boxes in video games...Worldwide action against monetisation of video games
Germany is looking into imposing restrictions on loot boxes in videogames, according to Welt. A study by the University of Hamburg has found that elements of gambling are becoming increasingly common in videogames. It's an important part of the game industry's business model, but the chairman of the Youth Protection Commission of the State Media Authorities warned that it may violate laws against promoting gambling to children and adolescents.

The Youth Protection Commission will render its decision on loot boxes in March.

Update: Sweden too

9th February 2018.  See  article from neoseeker.com

Ardalan Shekarabi, the nation's minister of civil affairs, is concerned about making sure Swedish consumer protection laws apply across the board when it comes to gaming. Shekrabi admits that loot boxes are like gambling, but has asked Swedish authorities to consider whether that's what they should actually be classified as. The idea is to have legislation ready by January of next year to ensure Swedish gamers don't have to worry about a transaction falling outside of the nation's consumer protection laws in the event something goes south.

 

 

Hidden costs...

US games ratig group adds label to inform customers of 'in-game purchases'


Link Here 1st March 2018
Full story: Loot boxes in video games...Worldwide action against monetisation of video games
The Entertainment Software Rating Boar d (ESRB) has announced that it will begin assigning a new "In - Game Purchases" label to physical ( e.g., boxed) games.

The In - Game Purchases label is one of several interactive elements that ESRB currently assigns to notify consumers about the interactive or online features of a digital or mobile game. Consumers can expect to start seeing this new notice on all games that can be purchased in stores and wherever those games can be downloaded in the near future.

ESRB president Patricia Vance said:

The video game industry is evolving and innovating continually, as is the ESRB rating system. ESRB's goal is to ensure that parents have the most up-to-date and comprehensive tools at their disposal to help them decide which games are appropriate for their children/ With the new In-Game Purchases interactive element coming to physical games, parents will know when a game contains offers for players to purchase additional content. Moreover, we will be expanding our efforts to educate parents about the controls currently at their disposal to manage in-game spending before their kids press 'Start'."

The new In-Game Purchases label will be applied to games with in-game offers to purchase digital goods or premiums with real world currency, including but not limited to bonus levels, skins, surprise items (such as item packs, loot boxes, mystery awards), music, virtual coins and other forms of in-game currency, subscriptions, season passes and upgrades (e.g., to disable ads).

The ESRB also launched ParentalTools.org , an easy - to - use one - stop resource for parents

 

 

Player Unknowns in Censorship Battlegrounds...

Netherlands censors put 4 video games on notice that they will be banned if they don't remove loot boxes


Link Here 21st April 2018
Full story: Loot boxes in video games...Worldwide action against monetisation of video games
The Dutch Gaming Authority (kansspelautoriteit) has ruled on the matter of loot boxes i computer games and has determined that out of ten popular games with loot boxes the commission investigated, four don't comply with the country's Better Gaming Act.

According to the Dutch Gaming Authority, the four games in violation of the Better Gaming Act because they feature elements in them that can also be found in the gambling world. Because loot box items could be traded for euro at fluctuating prices, these items have economic value. And since players can earn money for rare items, the games violate the rules of chance.

Of the remaining six games the Dutch Gaming Authority investigated, they found that the loot boxes contained items that could not be traded. Thus they are in compliance with the Better Gaming Act. However, the group still criticized how loot boxes were implemented as slot machines or roulettes.

Companies that do not comply with the Better Gaming Act can be fined or even prohibited from being sold in the Netherlands.

The games will only be officially identified if they don't take the required remedial action. However it has been reported that likely games requiring cuts are Playerunknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), Dota 2 , and Rocket League which include items that can be traded through third-party services

 

 

Offsite Article: On the money...


Link Here 10th May 2018
Full story: Loot boxes in video games...Worldwide action against monetisation of video games
Video game developer EA is to continue offering loot boxes in a transparent, fun, fair, balanced way

See article from vg247.com

 

 

No more bets please...

Dutch games censors declare that their grace period has expired and they will be enforcing their ban on loot boxes


Link Here 25th June 2018
Full story: Loot boxes in video games...Worldwide action against monetisation of video games
The Dutch gambling authority will enforce a new ban on loot boxes. They identified four games that offer loot boxes that are considered gambling. According to the public broadcast company these games are FIFA 18, DOTA 2 , PlayerUnknown's BattleGrounds and Rocket League .

These games had until the 20th of June to make changes to the gambling aspect of their loot boxes. Starting from Thursday the gambling authority will enforce the rules. Fines can be 830.000 euro (960.000 dollar) or 10% of the company's worldwide revenue. If they don't make changes, the public prosecutor will look into prosecution.

 

 

All bets are off...

French gaming authority decides that loot boxes are not gambling


Link Here 9th July 2018
Full story: Loot boxes in video games...Worldwide action against monetisation of video games

France's online gaming authority (ARJEL, Autorité de Régulation des Jeux En Ligne) has decided that loot boxes in premium-priced games are not gambling. It determined that loot boxes are not legally considered gambling, and therefore are not gambling.

However, ARJEL will continue to monitor the matter and is also calling for more unilateral support from the European Union in order to achieve a sound consensus on whether or not to consider loot boxes gambling.

According to ARJEL, the fact that you can't readily cash out your rewards from loot boxes for real-world currency means that in the minds of regulators it's not quite gambling. For them, the only way it would be gambling is if players could actually retrieve the money that they invested into the product.

However, ARJEL also believes that loot boxes do contain questionable psychological hooks that work very similar to slot machines and roulette wheels in terms of luring gamers into a feeling of needing to spend more money in order to acquire the item they seek.

 

 

More like gambling than baseball cards...

European games censors get together to oppose loot boxes in video games


Link Here 20th September 2018
Full story: Loot boxes in video games...Worldwide action against monetisation of video games
Fifteen EU-based regulators plus Washington State have made a joint declaration while Australian based study likens loot boxes to gambling, not baseball cards

Fifteen EU gambling regulators from the UK, Ireland, France, Austria, Poland, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Spain, the Isle of Man, Malta, Portugal, Jersey, Norway, and the Netherlands plus US representation from the Washington State Gambling Regulator published the letter, noting their concerns with the business model.

In addition to the loot box problem, the letter addresses how it will take on websites that let players either gamble or sell in-game items like skins or weapons with real-world money.

One of the signatories, Neil McArthur, CEO of the UK Gambling Commission said:

We have joined forces to call on video games companies to address the clear public concern around the risks gambling and some video games can pose to children. We encourage video games companies to work with their gambling regulators and take action now to address those concerns to make sure that consumers, and particularly children, are protected.

The letter speaks of the groups concerns but does not detail the direction sthat the group will take in reacting to the concerns.

According to VentureBeat, a study conducted by the Australian Parliament's Environment and Communications References Committee showed that there were links between loot box spending and problematic gambling. The population sample size was 7500 people.

The more severe a gamers' problem gambling was, the more likely they were to spend large amounts of money on loot boxes. These results strongly support claims that loot boxes are psychologically akin to gambling, said the report, conducted by Dr. David Zendle and Dr. Paul Cairns.

In a statement, the pair added loot boxes could potentially act as an introduction to gambling or take advantage of gambling disorders. They note that the industry tends to brush off loot boxes as similar to harmless products like baseball cards, football/soccer stickers, and products along those lines.

In related news games maker EA could face legal issues for ignoring a ruling by the Belgian government to remove the Ultimate Team portion from FIFA 18.

 


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