The UK government has had a meeting with several games companies, technology firms, and industry representatives to tackle the issue of loot boxes in games, according to The Telegraph (via Yahoo! Finance). The main problem with loot boxes is that you pay first and find out what’s inside later. According to the government, this encourages gambling and they do not want children having access to them.
The pro-business Conservative government has said it wants the industry to self-regulate the matter but has warned that if they do not, it will then bring in legislation to tackle the issue. Any legislation could be introduced through gambling legislation of the online harms bill. The businesses offering loot boxes to children say that the evidence loot boxes lead to gambling is weak but it sounds as though the government isn’t going to chance it.
In a statement, a government spokesperson has said:
“People must be able to enjoy video games safely and we are reviewing the impact of loot boxes to examine concerns they may encourage or lead to problem gambling.”
While the games companies will still be able to sell in-game extras, they won’t be able to rinse young players for money as they keep buying loot boxes in search of the in-game items they want. For children playing, the cost of the loot boxes won’t matter a whole lot to them but for parents receiving the bill, it could cause an unpleasant surprise.