MP’s are calling for loot boxes to be banned for children and in-game spending to be regulated by gambling laws after some free video games have been found to encourage players to buy virtual loot boxes for a chance to progress within a game.
The inquiry into addictive and immersive technologies by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee heard stories of young adults who had built up thousands of pounds of debts by spending on games. Jagex, the company behind RuneScape online game, has admitted that players can spend up to £ 1,000 a week or £ 5,000 a month.
Damian Collins, Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said: “Social media platforms and online games makers are locked in a relentless battle to capture ever-more of people’s attention, time and money.
“But it’s time for them to be more responsible in dealing with the harms these technologies can cause for some users.”
Dr. Jo Twist, CEO of UK Interactive Entertainment, said: “The video games industry has always, and will continue to, put the welfare of players at the heart of what we do.
“The industry does not dispute that, for a minority, finding balance is a problem.”