Governments should limit the use of so-called loot boxes in games, say the Consumers Association and nineteen other European consumer organizations. They call manipulative loot boxes and marketing too aggressive.
Loot chests are mysterious digital packages that players can purchase with real money. Exact contents not known before purchase. For example, there may be game features or virtual outfits that players can use in the game. Only after paying can consumers see what’s in the loot box.
European organizations call for a ban after the publication of a coin listing report by the Norwegian Consumer Association. Describes how game makers use psychological tricks to convince players to buy loot boxes. For example, expired timers act on the fear of losing benefits. In addition, it gives players the feeling that mysterious chests are essential to success.
The Norwegian organization further writes that the chances of winning are very rosy because the winners of popular loot boxes appear more often. However, according to the organizations, it is unclear what are the actual chances of obtaining certain things or benefits from loot boxes.
“They respond consciously to the target group’s vulnerability”
To purchase loot boxes, players often need to convert real money into the currency used in the game. Consumer organizations also find this objectionable, as it obscures the true costs of such a package.
Sandra Molinar of the Consumers Association describes the risks of impulse buying being high, when the right to trade does not exist. “Game developers amplify this risk with their extensive marketing,” she adds. “In fact, they are consciously responding to the vulnerability of their predominantly young target group. In doing so, they cross the border.”
According to her, there is an urgent need for regulation. She called for transparency about the true costs and protection of minors. “Deceptive design of loot boxes should be banned.”
Loot boxes are not games of chance
By the way, the State Council earlier this year ruled the looting of funds in FIFAThe games are not illegal games of chance. The gaming authority fined EA for loot boxes, but that was according to the judge unjustified†
The State Council called loot boxes part of FIFAGames and not a separate game. This is why loot boxes are not seen as a game of chance that requires a license.
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