It appears the era of loot boxes may be coming to a close within the next few years, and England has a new report on them tied to gambling. The report published by Claire Murdoch, the mental health director of England's National Health Service did a study on the subject and said that the transactions are an "under the radar" form of gambling. The report came with an assessment of the situation and suggestions of what to do to end it. here's a snippet from the report.
Investigations have found numerous cases of children spending money without their parents' knowledge, including a 16-year-old paying £2,000 on a basketball game and a 15-year-old losing £1,000 in a shooting game. A report by the Royal Society of Public Health in December found that over half of young people believe that playing a video game could lead to gambling and that the link between gaming and gambling is a negative one.
Ms Murdoch has called on gaming companies to:
- Ban sales of games with loot boxes that encourage children to gamble
- Introduce fair and realistic spending limits to prevent people from spending thousands in games
- Make clear to users what percentage chance they have of obtaining the items they want before they purchase loot boxes
- Support parents by increasing their awareness on the risks of in-game spending
Obviously, loot boxes are not going to vanish overnight. However, when one of the ten biggest gaming markets in the world has a report that straight-up says to ban sales of games with loot boxes in them… Chances are this is going to be a red flag to a lot of designers to cut them out entirely. We'll see if any politicians take up the report in the U.K. or if any companies comment on the situation. But its slowly becoming clear that with reports like this coming out in bigger markets, this era of gaming transactions now has an expiration date.