The UK Government is considering legislation to reduce the sale of loot boxes to children. The government prefers that game companies themselves stop selling the loot boxes to minors, but wants to introduce the legislation if this does not work.
British Media minister Julia Lopez had a conversation with several representatives from the game industry last week, in which she expressed her concerns, according to the Telegraph. Lopez is said to have said that publishers should take more measures to reduce sales. If the game makers do not succeed sufficiently, Lopez would have threatened with additional legislation.
The talks included representatives from Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Apple, Google and console makers. Apple and Google were present, because with their app stores they get part of the income from microtransactions.
Game makers would have disagreed with Lopez’s ultimatum to cut sales, according to the paper’s anonymous sources. These companies would have pointed out that there is little evidence that lootboxes are actually harmful and that the industry itself would also have taken steps to reduce sales to minors.
In the UK, there has long been talk of banning loot boxes for children. In 2019, for example, a British parliamentary committee already said that the sale should be banned. Earlier that year, the country’s Gambling Authority ruled that lootboxes are not gambling as British law now implies.
Lootboxes are also under pressure in other countries. In Germany, for example, a law is being worked on whereby lootboxes are included in the age assessment. In Belgium, it is no longer possible to buy FIFA Points for football games since 2019.