Casinos for youLootboxes are a popular addition to video games today but could potentially harm youth. Countries like Germany are currently discussing implementing robust regulations and could ban them completely.
There are many elements that make games popular today, with loot boxes being among the most popular.
In the past few years, the popularity of these boxes has grown quite rapidly, reaching audiences of various ages.
The main concern regarding loot boxes in video games is that the highest audience group remains minors. Officials believe these loot boxes are an addictive mechanic that operates similarly to Online Slots.
This has led to Germany strongly considering robust regulations when it comes to video games featuring loot boxes.
Focused on Protecting Minors
Despite their popularity, loot boxes are currently under fire across Europe, with various countries considering implementing restrictive measures. The main priority of the restrictions is to prevent exposure to those at risk, such as minors. While it can’t be considered gambling entirely, the addictive nature is the same and enough cause for concern.
For Germany, debates are still ongoing about whether or not restrictions related to loot boxes should be implemented. The regulation of these loot boxes has made its way to the Bundestag, with MPs from different parties all supporting robust rules that would restrict the mechanic.
Bundestag member of the Green Party, Linda Heitmann, recently had a lot to say in terms of the dangers of loot boxes when it comes to the youth and young adults.
Heitmann is pushing forward the proposal for the regulation of loot boxes, stating that these lucrative reward-filled boxes can lead to dangerous game behaviour. She urges for the implementation of effective and robust laws.
Heitmann didn’t mince words when she said:Quote
“Loot boxes are an annoying and also dangerous phenomenon in video games and are particularly problematic when they appeal to [minors] and young people. We have to realize that game developers are, unfortunately, amazingly creative when it comes to ripping off young people in video games and encouraging addictive tendencies. I see a need for tighter laws and regulations here."
Heitmann also feels that Game developers should be running education campaigns and offering technical solutions such as automatic slowdowns if the game continues for too long - with a focus on rewarding breaks and possibly banning loot boxes altogether.
Gaming Should Remain a Leisure Activity
The CDU/CSU Bundestag member Fabian Gramling also spoke up, saying that there has been an escalation in discussions on protecting gamers from loot boxes. Gramling agreed with Heitmann, stating that loot boxes are lucrative game mechanics that must be regulated.
According to Gramling, around 330,000 young people are speculated to suffer from pathological gambling behaviour, which only reaffirms the need for stricter regulations. He also highlighted that the upcoming changes should be backed by research on the effects of loot boxes.
SPD Bundestag member, Lena Werner spoke on the importance of the gaming industry in Germany. She said that a significant part of the sector’s sales depend on in-game purchases such as loot boxes. That taken into consideration, Werner supports the idea of removing financial risks from the gaming sector to increase enjoyability.
Werner believes that the gaming sector is created for leisure and should not have to be a gateway to gambling.
Loot Box Restrictions Around the World
While heated discussions continue in terms of the regulation of loot boxes in Germany, there are many other countries also exploring their options regarding these random boxes.
Austria is one such region currently considering legal changes. An option that Germany could also potentially explore.
Spain, on the other hand, is considering implementing new age restrictions on games containing loot boxes. In Belgium, the Netherlands, and Slovakia, loot boxes are considered gambling. They either require a license or are completely banned in these areas.
Will changes like this make a real difference to how minors interact with video games, or will it sink the industry? That remains to be seen.
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