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Loot boxes are not regulated, UK government decides

Regulations for loot boxes around the world are in flux. While governments like Belgium have decided to outright ban video game loot boxes, other countries have no laws surrounding the predatory game mechanic.

Mainly used in mainstream games like Call of Duty and FIFA, look boxes have been considered problematic for over a decade. However, after years of investigation, the British government has decided not to take any action.

Why doesn’t the UK ban loot boxes?

British Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has decided not to regulate the mechanics of the loot box games. Despite a 22-month investigation into the dangerous trading practices, the trading card-esque mechanic is here to stay.

Dorries argued that forcing regulation of the mechanic would have unintended knock-on effects. But could these “unintended consequences” be as bad as they think?

“Legislation to introduce an outright ban on children buying loot boxes could have the unintended effect of more children using adult accounts, and thus having more limited parental controls over their play and spending,” reads a government document to the point.

One of the main points of contention around the mechanic is its link to gambling. The British government is of the opinion that there is no such link. This is because most loot box rewards do not allow you to “cash out”.

Instead, Dorries and Co. that game developers arrange the mechanic themselves. Furthermore, more restrictions will come into play in early 2023.

“We expect game companies and platforms to improve protections for children, youth and adults, and to see tangible results in the near future,” they said. “If that doesn’t happen, we won’t hesitate to consider legal options, if we deem it necessary to protect children, young people and adults.”

On the way out

Loot boxes in video games have been a problem for over a decade. However, after a terrible reaction to the mechanic in games like Battlefront 2, this is almost a thing of the past. Yes, games still have them, but they are a dying breed.

As usual, the governments that want to ban loot box mechanics are coming in late. Today, the industry has already moved to battle passes, expensive cosmetics and premium currencies. It’s a fast industry.

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