Ukie, the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment, has reacted positively to the report issued earlier this week by the UK’s Department of Digital, Cultural, Media and Sport, which condemned, loot boxes in video games, recommending the same regulations as gambling, which would include content labels on games with paid loot boxes and a ban on selling them to minors.
In response to the report Ukie released a statement saying that it was “pleased the Committee acknowledges that the majority of people play video games in a positive, safe and responsible way,” and emphasising its support for efforts to increase “digital literacy.”
“We also welcome the Committee’s recognition of good practice, which already exists in the industry, including pioneering community management and technical measures which ensure players have a safe experience online,”
The statement also read: “The discussion around age ratings is actively ongoing and the system is continually reviewed. Changes have already been made including the introduction of an in-game purchase description label and as technology evolves so will the robust process by which it is reviewed and rated.”
However, the response on the pond’s North American side was a little more confrontational. “We take seriously the issues raised in the UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee report, but strongly disagree with its findings,” an Entertainment Software Association representative told Gamesindustry.biz.
“As demonstrated by the recent announcement of policies regarding the disclosure of the relative rarity or probability of obtaining virtual items in paid loot boxes as well as the robust parental controls that empower parents to control in-game purchases, the videogame industry is a leader in partnering with parents and players to create enjoyable videogame experiences. In addition, numerous regulatory bodies around the world, including those in Australia, France, Ireland, Germany, and the UK, have come to a conclusion starkly different than that of this committee.”
Some nations have determined that loot boxes are not a type of gambling, but have also stated that choices are strictly based on legal definitions and should not be taken to mean that loot boxes should be left unregulated. For example, France’s ARJEL regulatory body has determined that loot boxes are not legally qualified as gambling but “are undermining public policy goals for gambling,” while the UK Gambling Commission has stated that there are “significant concerns” about loot box games performed by kids, but that they are not technically qualified as gambling under present legislation.
The ESA represents significant publishers such as Activision Blizzard, Bethesda, Electronic Arts, Take-Two, and Tencent, and is therefore keen to avoid regulation. It will always disagree with results that could lead to legislation that limits monetization methods, although in this situation it is performed a little more strongly than Ukie.