You may remember that back in June, the UK Government announced it would launch a call for evidence on loot boxes in response to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s inquiry into immersive and addictive technologies. Well, that’s launching today – and is now open for submissions.
Announced via the UK Government website, the call for evidence seeks “the experiences of players and their parents or guardians as well as rigorous, high quality data and research from video games companies, academia, civil society as well as any other organisations with an interest in this issue.” That means both players and game organisations can have a say on loot boxes – so if you want to write in through the player survey or feedback form, you can find the information on this page. You’ll have until 22nd November to get all your thoughts down, as this is when submissions close.
This isn’t the first time a British government body has asked for evidence on loot boxes: back in January 2019 the DCMS Committee called for individuals and members of the public to discuss their experiences as part of its preliminary research into problems with gambling and addiction in video games. As a result of this evidence-gathering, the DCMS Committee recommended that the UK Government regulate loot boxes under the Gambling Act, with all the extra rules and regulations that entails.
The UK Government has faced increased pressure to examine loot boxes over the past year, following reports from an NHS director and the children’s commissioner calling for regulation to protect children from the microtransactions. The findings from this particular call for evidence are intended to give the government “a clearer understanding of the size of the loot box and in-game purchases market in the UK, how it operates, and the impact of current protections such as parental controls and consumer regulations.” The call for evidence is also part of a commitment made by the government to review the Gambling Act “with a particular focus on tackling issues around online loot boxes” – so depending on how this research proceeds, it’s entirely possible loot boxes could eventually face regulation in the UK.