GamesIndustry.biz has a fantastic piece illuminating the Entertainment Software Association’s apparent game plan on lockboxes going forward. The publication recaps a lengthy talk ESA president Mike Gallagher gave at the Nordic Game Conference seemingly designed to both incite concern over lockbox regulation and extol the virtues of the free market.
Gallagher primed the audience by comparing the lootbox controversy to the WHO’s so-called “gaming disorder” crusade and the US government’s unfounded attempts to link gaming and gun violence, then moved on to arguing that the gaming industry’s “right” to self-regulation and the “instantaneous feedback” of consumerism are what we should be trusting to keep lootboxes properly in check, not governments like Belgium’s and the Netherlands’, which have already curbed gambleboxes in their countries.
Gallagher also downplays the effectiveness of government at understanding the nuances of the lootbox debate, effectively suggesting we should worry ourselves over what harm world governments might enact if they confusedly overreach and that they don’t understand just how long these aggressive monetization mechanics have been in games, as if that somehow should excuse them. That particular bit – the idea that government officials are blubbering idiots who couldn’t possibly understand something as intricate as video game gambling – will definitely amuse those of you who watched Hawaii State Rep Chris Lee completely school an ESA rep at a hearing earlier this year, even sneaking in a “sense of pride and accomplishment” remark.
Ultimately, Gallagher rejected the idea that perhaps the the gaming industry should take a lesson from the impact of the GDPR on global business. “We can’t go to the lowest common denominator of government around the world, and make that the standard the rest of the world has to live by, and limit the trajectory of the industry,” he told GIbiz.
“That’s not the best approach. Instead, we believe it’s best to be clear about the facts, and make sure those carry the day around the world, so we drive an outcome that best extends the [games industry’s] frontiers and looks after the interests of gamers. […] Going to the one or two isolated over-reactions, seeing how those over-reactions play to one or two governments, and then making that the standard and doing that industry-wide? That’s not going to be productive for the industry, or for gamers. Let’s inform first, continue to self-regulate, and move ahead that way. It’s worked great for us over the last 20 years.”
The whole piece is worth a read over on GIbiz to get a full understanding of how the ESA means to play the game in the current political climate.