The UK Government Is Launching A Call For Evidence As They Look At Cracking Down On Loot Boxes

The UK Government Is Launching A Call For Evidence As They Look At Cracking Down On Loot Boxes
Credit: EA Sports via YouTube

Whether you want to try to shake up the terminology and call them CUBEs, or player packs, or even if you’re fond of calling a spade a spade and call them loot boxes, they’ve arguably gotten a bit out of control in the past couple of years.

The overall idea is simple, regardless of what you deem them; a mystery prize is located inside of a box, and the reward for opening it cannot be seen until some form of a transaction has occurred between the player and developer.

These loot boxes typically have desired items within them, that could sell very well (in the case of CS:GO, there are items worth thousands of dollars); you could also receive something absolutely worthless.

Think of it as a casino: if everyone always won, there’d be no casino, so developers are keen on ensuring that very few individuals can grab an item that everyone actually wants.

This helps drive up monetization and recurring income for the studio that would otherwise be forced to rely on merely the actual unit sales of the title and additional DLC. It’s a relatively quick and easy way for studios to ensure that they can continue to keep a profit through the standard shelf-life of a title.

We see them in Counter-StrikeFIFARocket League, and hundreds of other titles.

The ESRB finally capitulated to public outcry to loot boxes and gave the most limp-wristed slap on the hand of the gaming industry possible. The UK, on the other hand, seem to be taking this seriously in an era where microtransactions can total over a billion in sales.

After the House of Lords Committee (the English do enjoy archaic titles) that has called for gambling laws to cover loot boxes, the Parliament is now launching an ‘open call for evidence’ regarding loot boxes for a decision concerning the Gambling Act of 2005.

Similar to the GDPR that Europe passed that saw certain developers shift the way they interacted with consumers, it’s possible that the UK taking a harsher stance against loot boxes within video games, designed to encourage users of all ages to continue to purchase unknown rewards, could have rippling consequences in the United States.

It’s equally likely that, due to a complete lack of consumer protections in the United States, that we’ll continue to be barraged with wild systems that allow you to gamble your way to victory as the UK enjoys fair monetization that doesn’t turn children into gamblers for the sake of shareholders.