It's Looking Like Europe Will Ban Loot Boxes
Do loot boxes need more regulations?
Consumer groups from 18 European countries have launched a campaign calling upon authorities to pass tighter regulations on loot boxes. The outspokenness comes after a report from the Norwegian Consumer Council titled "Insert Coin: How the Gaming Industry Exploits Consumers Using Loot Boxes." The groups have called for several measures to be placed on the use of loot boxes, stating how companies exploit users through predatory tactics "fostering addiction." The action is noteworthy for how many nations are calling for it at the same time. But the real question is whether anything will come of this.
Will Gaming Companies Get Boxed In?
The NCC has created a 59-page document using Raid: Shadow Legends and FIFA 22 as examples, claiming, "Both games employ a wide arsenal of tricks to push consumers into spending as much time and money as possible exploiting consumers [who] hope to receive the reward despite a minuscule chance and likelihood to do so."
The document also details how precisely loot boxes exploit players by:
- Using manipulative practices on children
- Risking losing content at any time
- Exploiting cognitive biases through deceptive design
- Utilizing aggressive marketing practices to further sales
- Using opaque algorithms and skewed probabilities
The Commission has gone so far as to suggest criminal prosecution against organizations that continue to sell loot boxes in games. In Belgium, where loot boxes are already considered gambling by law, they can't be sold at all. As a result, EA announced in 2019 that it would no longer sell FIFA Points in the country.
Additionally, Diablo Immortal won't be sold in Belgium due to its inclusion of loot boxes.
What do you think of the action? Do you think it's right or a step too far?
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