The government is pressuring video game companies to ban children from buying ‘loot boxes’

Companies represented at last week’s meeting included major game publishers such as Call of Duty developer Activision Blizzard; and Electronic Arts, best known for the Fifa franchise. Apple and Google, which take a percentage of microtransactions on smartphone games, and console makers were also reportedly present, along with console makers and trade associations.

Game makers are thought to have pushed back against the claim, arguing that there was little evidence of loot box harm and pointing to steps the industry had taken to give players more control.

Last year, gaming ratings organization Pegi began labeling games that sold loot boxes with random results. Some games have taken steps to make purchases less random, fearing this will mean they are seen as a gateway to gambling.

The government launched a call for evidence on loot boxes 19 months ago and received more than 30,000 responses, which it says it is still considering. It was part of a review of the gambling law that was closed a year ago.

“People need to be able to safely enjoy video games and we are looking at the impact of loot boxes to examine concerns that they may encourage or lead to problem gambling,” a government spokesperson said. “We will publish our response to this review in the coming months.”

In 2019, the Digital Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee recommended that the government require gaming companies to remove loot boxes from games aimed at children and regulate them under the Gambling Act. hazard.

The video games industry was worth £4.2billion last year, down slightly from 2020 when spending was boosted by the pandemic, with Fifa 2022 being the year’s best-selling game. The majority of the game’s revenue comes from the sale of additional services such as micro-transactions, not from the purchase of the title itself.

The Gambling Commission reviewed loot boxes in 2016 and concluded that they did not legally count as gambling.

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