Research calls for German authorities to halt video game loot boxes

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The German authorities along with a group of critics in one accord have come to the forefront demanding the regulation of video game loot boxes This is in consequence of a scrutiny that revealed that video games were adopting gambling elements.

As per the Welt Am Sonntag’s reports, Germany’s Commission for Youth Media Protection, part of the State Media Authorities, stated that it is seriously taking into consideration a ban on loot boxes following a study by the University of Hamburg that lead to the conclusion that elements of gambling were becoming evidently and progressively common in video games.

Loot boxes are virtual boxes in video games which enable players to find additional weapons and additional paid offers for the games, for example, Germany’s Youth Protection Commission Chairman, Wolfgang Kreißig pointed out, according to the news outlet “I think it is conceivable that loot boxes could violate the ban on gambling to children and adolescents.”

According to the findings of University of Hamburg researchers, many video game manufacturers depended on the mini-purchases within the game. Often times, players needed to buy items during the game to acquire an advantage and win.

They found out that manufacturers pocketed around €8 billion ($9.92 billion) in worldwide sales in 2016 due to their ‘Pay2Win’ business model. For 2017, the researchers anticipated the figure to hike by almost 30 percent to more than €10 billion ($12.39 billion).

After analysing the business models and industry sales figures, the researchers concluded that a minority of players were responsible for the majority of loot box revenue, noting that it was “a typical feature of gambling markets.”

Citing these findings, the German commission planned to deliberate whether to fine game developers and publishers who include loot boxes in their games or to prohibit game creators from including loot boxes in games altogether.

The commission plans to render its decision in March.

The issue whether these in-game purchases should be considered gambling continues to divide regulators across the globe. In November, Belgium’s Minister of Justice KoenGeens, wanted to prohibit loot boxes, saying the in-game purchases were “dangerous for the mental health of the child.”

Meanwhile, the UK Gambling Commission and the Gambling Compliance Office of New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs agreed in an accord that loot boxes did not meet the legal definition of gambling.