Yesterday, 17 July 2022, the Government published its response to the call for evidence into loot boxes. The Government called for video games companies and platforms to do more to ensure children and young people cannot purchase loot boxes without parental consent.
The Government, after considering the evidence, including the InGAME rapid evidence assessment, identified a range of potential harms associated with the purchase of loot boxes.
This includes harms which have been associated with gambling, but also a range of other potential mental health, financial and problem gaming-related harms. The Government also stated that the evidence suggests that the risks of harm are likely to be higher for children and young people.
The Government has therefore called on game companies to improve protections for children as well as players of all ages from the risk of harm. In particular, the Government’s view is that:
- purchases of loot boxes should be unavailable to all children and young people unless and until they are enabled by a parent or guardian;
- all players, including children, young people and adults, should have access to, and be aware of, spending controls and transparent information to support safe and responsible gaming;
- better evidence and research, enabled by improved access to data, should be developed to inform future policy making on loot boxes and video games more broadly.
Dr Richard Wilson OBE, Chief Executive Officer, TIGA said:
‘TIGA believes that games businesses should aim to ensure that games are safe to use for all players. In 2020, TIGA formally adopted its 5 Principles for Safeguarding Players, designed to embody the spirit of the approach that games companies should adopt in operating their businesses within the UK. Children and young people should not be able to buy ‘loot boxes’ in video games without parental consent. TIGA also believes that vulnerable adults need to be protected against potential harms arising from loot boxes. TIGA looks forward to contributing to the DCMS’s planned working group to advance measures to protect players from potential harms.’