Germany is pushing for reform of the Youth Protection Act, the government wants to make sure that teens and children are away from the buying incentives present in loot-boxes.
The European Union is monitoring the implementation of loot-boxes mechanics in games aimed at young players. In the U.K. The House of Lords Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry proved a connection between, loot-boxes and gambling.
According to the UK legislation, “It is illegal for any child under 16 years old to take part in any form of commercial gambling”.
In the Netherlands, The District Court of Hauge has ruled in favor of the Gambling Authority’s five million euros penalty against EA’s FIFA Ultimate Team loot-boxes mechanics. The government also proved a correlation between loot-boxes and gambling.
Studies have found that developers are implementing mechanics that create an “irresistible urge to play” and a “growing tension” that could only be relieved by playing.
According to lawyer Julia Maris, the law will have an impact on the age restrictions. “Online games or other applications that use loot boxes or similar in-game offers would probably be classified with an age rating of 18 and over,” Maris told SPIEGEL.
Among other things, children should be protected from being ripped off with age-appropriate default settings, but also with warning pictograms before buying. “We want clear symbols that indicate risks such as violence or cost traps,” said SPD Family Minister Franziska Giffey.
Epic Games’ founder and CEO, Tim Sweeney recently criticized the practice, blaming Facebook and Google for taking advantage of customers.
Sony, Nintendo, and Xbox have reached an agreement on new policies that require game developers and publishers full disclosure on their loot-boxes mechanics, if the publisher of the game denies the demand, the game will be banned on all storefronts from each company.
Source: Der Spiegel