UK Gov Launches Loot Box Call For Evidence
The U.K. government this week officially launched its previously hinted-at call for evidence regarding the effects and impact of loot boxes in video games. Driven by government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the call for evidence will reportedly take on the form of an online information-gathering project, which project will gather data related to insights provided by both the video games industry as well as members of the general U.K. public.
The two groups targeted by the info-gleaning exercise will be a group consisting of actual players of video games aged 16 and up as well as adults taking care of young people and children who play video games (Group 1), and of a second group made up of all businesses organisations, researchers, etc., interested in the impact of loot boxes within the world of video games (Group 2).
Government has in the meantime via a formal DCMS media release declared itself ready to “take action” in the event that the outcome of the call for evidence does point in the direction of a need for better protection of young video gamers.
The call for evidence submission date cut-off is November 22.
A Necessary Government Response
The DCMS has furthermore made known that the evidence-calling exercise will focus on three specific areas: the impact and efficacy of existing statutory protections, the size as well as the function of the local in-game purchase market, and the experience of local video games players in as far as potential harm is concerned.
The launch of the call by government is according to DCMS Minister Caroline Dinenage, government’s response to it having listened to the concerns raised by parents over loot boxes and in-game microtransactions. It is only right to fully examine and gain a better understanding of the evidence presented, explained Dinenage.
The Pros Vs The Cons
According to a prominent research survey conducted in 2018, more than half of all people in the U.K. play video games. And it’s an industry that, by the DCMS’ own admission, contributed at least £2.6 billion to the U. K’s economy during that year alone. What’s more, it is also an industry responsible for employing at least 27,000 people last year.
The controversiality of loot boxes is of course nothing new. But the first time the issue really grabbed the attention of the U.K. government full-on was in September last year. Then, in July this year, the U.K.’s House of Lords issued an extensive 194 page-long report recommending an array of key changes to the country’s current gambling regulations – with loot boxes named the so-called Exhibit A as far as children and under-age gambling are concerned.