UK Gaming Regulator Decides Against Banning Loot Boxes

Oct 08

The Gaming Regulators’ European Forum (GREF) has ruled against the application of a widespread ban on loot boxes.

This development comes after the results of a year-long study that was conducted regarding the impact that video game microtransactions, including loot box offerings, might potentially have on gamers.

The GREF has decided not to take any measures that could curb the features of loot boxes despite having been unambiguously recommended to impose such restrictions.

The report on the work done by the GREF gathers the findings of the research that started in September 2018. It was published on October 2 by the French regulator, ARJEL.

The forum is made up of 36 gambling regulators from 31 European nations. At the time, 19 regulatory bodies had already expressed concerns about video game microtransactions that is believed to be borderline gambling.

The report claims that the GREF firmly believes that imposing restrictions on loot boxes would be primarily dependent on the regulations of each individual country in the region. Each country would have its own definition of gambling, and any such limitations would have to align with these laws.

The GREF has also stressed that there needs to be a harmonized effort from different parties to deal with any such issues with loot boxes. This would include the national bodies for education, health, and consumer protection, as well as those in charge of financial and digital regulation.

The forum suggested that consumer protection groups have to come up with their own proposals on this matter. One recommendation it makes relates to “the communication before the purchase of the loot-box content and the probabilities of obtaining a particular virtual item.”

The report is urging for more action to be done in educating parents on issues pertaining to loot boxes. It also promotes productive conversations between gaming companies and authorities overseeing the sector to come up with further protective solutions, especially for younger people.

There has been a lot of backlash against loot boxes in video games in the past few years. The likes of Belgium and the Netherlands already have bans in place on particular kinds of loot boxes.