18 consumer protection agencies want an end to lootboxes in Europe - Geeko

18 consumer protection agencies want an end to lootboxes in Europe – Geeko

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The Norwegian Consumer Council considers that loot boxes contribute to the “exploitation” of players.

Loot boxes are a kind of loot boxes. They are often accessed through real money or virtual currency purchased with real money. Its content is not known in advance.

random rewards

Clearly, like a lucky bag, the player buys a box cheaply and ignores its contents. Thus, once the “loot box” is unpacked, the player randomly finds some fairly basic and low-value items, or, on the contrary, rare items. As you may have understood, since the percentage of rare objects is very low, the chances of getting one are lower compared to the chances of getting a more common one. Therefore, in order to satisfy his desires and in the hope of obtaining the coveted item, the player will sometimes have to buy many loot boxes.

an expensive bet

Faced with this trend, which can sometimes cost its followers dearly, a Norwegian report has made headlines. Written by the Norwegian Consumer Council, it has been signed by consumer protection agencies from 18 member countries.

The text calls for better regulation of video games. The Norwegian Consumer Council is particularly targeting FIFA 22. It points the finger at its “a wide arsenal of tricks to trick consumers into spending as much time and money as possible by exploiting consumers who expect to receive the reward despite the slim possibility and probability of doing so”. In the FUT mode of this game, packs containing random bonuses can only be purchased for real money.

To justify its position, the Council therefore uses the games fifa22 Y Raid : Shadow Legends as case studies. It is by describing his practice that he denounces a “wide arsenal of tricks to trick consumers into spending as much time and money as possible by exploiting consumers’ hope of receiving the reward despite the miniscule chance and probability of doing so”.

The situation in Belgium

These treasure chests are one of the main points of contention between the video game industry and lawmakers.

Since 2018, Belgium and the Netherlands consider certain economic models of video games to be similar to games of chance. Loot boxes are of course part of the lot. In fact, according to these laws, any prize obtained at random using real money is a game of chance, prohibited for minors. And Belgian law is truly respected and binding. Take the example of Counter Strike Global Offensive, a “first person shooter” (FPS). fruit of the game half life, Originally it was paid. This day, counter strike global offensive it is free, but in Belgium, players no longer have access to a whole series of items that allow, in particular, to improve skins or even weapons.

A series of recommendations

According to the Council, “The combination of deceptive design, random rewards, virtual currencies, and the exploitation of cognitive biases is too powerful for consumer education or transparency-enhancing measures to mitigate the harm caused by these practices.”.

He concludes his report with a series of specific recommendations for policymakers. For example, banning deceptive design practices, listing all in-game purchases in real-world currency, banning loot boxes in games likely to be played by minors, greater transparency of algorithms and data sets used in loot boxes and better enforcement by consumer protection agencies. “Since loot box issues are multifaceted and cross-industry, it is essential that experts from different regulatory authorities cooperate to exchange information and resources when looking at the video game industry”we can read in the conclusion of the report.

Note that this report can’t normally lead to a radical disappearance of loot boxes. To see them disappear, a global European decision will rather be necessary.

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