DCMS secures +30,000-strong response to loot box consultation

DCMS has revealed that it has received over 30,000 responses to its call for evidence on how loot boxes should be regulated. 

The request for stakeholder guidance was launched last September on behalf of a Select Committee examining ‘Immersive and Addictive Technologies’.

DCMS had formally pledged that it would introduce initial laws and standards on loot box rewards and incentives, forming part of the department’s generational review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

However, DCMS under secretary Nigel Huddleston later remarked that any regulatory action on loot boxes required clear evidence on which approach the government should take.

The consultation saw DCMS call for the broadest range of opinions from game developers, publishers, player communities, families and addiction specialists to secure the ‘most rigorous feedback’ on how to best govern subject matter that covers diverse business and social spectrums.

Last April, GambleAware published its Loot Box insights report, undertaken by the University of Plymouth and the University of Wolverhampton.

Analysing the spend data of 7,700 gamers, GambleAware’s report stated that loot box mechanisms were reflective of gambling interactions as 5% of players recorded generated over half of loot box revenues – mirroring online casino gambling traits.

The charity’s analysis further cited concerns that loot box purchases were primarily undertaken by young males of a ‘lower educational attainment’.

Elsewhere the Advertising Standards Association (ASA) has undertaken its own consultation on how loot boxes and in-game rewards should be promoted in line with UK CAP standards.

Mirroring GambleAware, ASA cited concerns in how loot boxes are promoted to gamers, and their lack of ‘clear information’ and whether game developers should enforce further safeguards at the point of purchase.

“The Government takes concerns about potential harms relating to loot boxes in video games seriously,” stated Caroline Dinenage, DCMS minister for Digital and Culture.

“That is why we are continuing to thoroughly evaluate the evidence received to determine solutions that are both robust and proportionate in response to the issues identified from the evidence received. This will be set out in the government response which will be published in the coming months.”

Facing multiple, European high-court challenges, this summer EA Sports announced that it would enable players to view FIFA Ultimate Team prizes – adopting a new loot box policy across its sports video game titles.  

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