Germany is investigating the option to ban loot boxes in games

Germany is investigating the option to ban loot boxes in games

Germany is investigating the option to ban loot boxes in games

The “loot box” controversy is one of the most widely discussed topics within the games industry today, with lawmakers from across the world arguing whether or not the practice constitutes gambling. Now the German Youth protection Commission is reportedly investigating a ban on the practice, citing an unreleased study from the University of Hamberg which concluded that the practice contained “typical feature(s) of gambling markets”. 

“Loot boxes” is a generic term for in-game purchases or rewards that offer a random element, often preventing players from receiving the items they want while encouraging players to spend money on the system. This risk/reward element can cause some players to overspend, or get addicted to the practice in a similar fashion to traditional gambling.  

According to the German Newspaper Welt, researchers found that only a small portion of players account for the majority of the revenue generated by such systems, offering a striking similarity to the gambling market. These similarities could place games with loot boxes in a position where they violate laws which ban gambling for children and minors. 

The Chairman of the German Youth Protection Commission, Wolfgang Kreißig, stated that “Lootboxes could violate the ban on gambling for children and adolescents” and that developers could be fined if they are found to be breaking these laws. 

Germany is one of Europe’s largest economies, placing them in a position where they can influence legislation across the continent, setting off a series of mousetraps that could have global consequences for video game developers. 

 

Germany is investigating the option to ban loot boxes in games  

Germany is set to release a verdict on this issue in March, promising swift action on the matter one way or the other. Other countries are investigating the same problem, though none of them has a firm deadline, allowing a lot of time to pass without any action.

You can join the discussion on Germany’s investigation into in-game loot boxes on the OC3D Forums.