UK parliament committee seeks submissions about gaming addiction

    
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Back in December, the UK House of Commons committee responsible for digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) announced it was poised to begin an inquiry on “immersive and addictive technologies,” which at the time seemed to include everything from addictive mechanics and gaming addiction to lockboxes/lootboxes and harmful gamification in general. As we pointed out at the time, UK researchers had just published on the “relationship between problem gambling and the use of loot boxes” as well as determined that problem gambling among underage kids was on the rise, so it was no surprise to see movement on this front.

Well, here’s a bit more. This week the DCMS made clear its focus was whether or not gaming specifically is addictive – effectively the gaming disorder thing – and in need of regulation and asked for feedback from the populace. Don’t just tweet memes at the committee; it’s seeking written submissions from “gamers, parents, teachers” and as the tweet says actual game designers and academics experts too.

Source: Twitter. Thanks, Anon!

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Doomed4life

Ah yes the good old UK MP’s concerned about addiction. Even though 3 out of the 5 adverts i see during a football match break are gambling…

Anyways i would much rather be gaming, than going out, on a Friday and Saturday night…. It’s cheaper these days.

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Arktouros

Funny enough that’s what they say in the article on children gambling. It’s mostly being done through unregulated outlets such as one kid gambling on the outcome of a football match with another kid. So more regulation wouldn’t even really address the issue.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

I, for one, welcome our new addictive overlords.

parliament invaders.gif
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Armsbend

Damn dude you are on fire! Save this one Bree!

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Arktouros

Endlessly amusing how no one actually wants to do an actual scientific study on these topics. People love giving surveys and they love asking for testimonials but no one is willing to fork over the money to fund an actual research study on the topic and get definitive answers.

Almost like the debate on the topic is more important/lucrative than actually getting definitive facts or answers on it.

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rafael12104

Hmm. To early to tell if this will go anywhere.

If it does, it sounds like a decision will have to be made in terms of classifying gaming as an addiction. And the fallout beyond loot boxes could be severe.

I’m sorry but if that is what it takes, then that is what it takes. After all, we can’t make a claim that loot boxes are predatory if we can’t substantiate why.

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Roger Melly

You would have thought they had bigger fish to fry at the moment .

Serrenity
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Serrenity

It’s almost like a monolith organization composed of thousands of individuals might actually be able to work on more than one thing at any given time.

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Utakata

…yeah, like 50 ways to do a Brexit? o.O

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Person Dude

I like my Brexits sunny side up.

Unfortunately that’s an impossibility :(

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Roger Melly

I prefer a full english brexit with sausages , baked beans , eggs, fried tomatoes and potatoes , black pudding and toast .

Unfortunately half the ingredients are stuck at the border . :(

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Utakata

Wait..no, spam, spam, spam!? O.o

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Roger Melly

I wouldn’t bet on it if I were you . lol

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Anstalt

Just had a look at the website as this is something I feel passionately about, but they are asking each submission to cover a massive range of subjects that are too far outside my experience.

For example, I have a lot to say about what the government could be doing to support the UK gaming industry, as well as gaming/gambling connection, but I haven’t got a clue about how VR/AR is being used in other industries and what we can learn from that, and I certainly know very little about data security and infrastructure within the gaming world!

Hopefully they’ll get some good submissions though, I may submit something anyway even if it gets rejected. Can’t help to try!

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Armsbend

Classic governmental spinning their wheels without doing anything of substance. Opportunities to line those pockets before it’s brought to the legislative floor.

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Eliandal

It’s still going to go over like a lead balloon. In the end, don’t think they’ll do anything.

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Armsbend

They can use the threat to gather donations. If the UK works like our country. And seeing how our country pretty much works like the UK – that’s all I need to know.

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Mark Jacobs

This won’t end well I fear.

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Tandor

Whenever this subject has been raised, my constant refrain has been “Be careful what you wish for”. It continues so to be.

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Mark Jacobs

Agreed.

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Bruno Brito

These are the moments i love living in such a shitshow of a country like Brazil, where regulations means jackshit.

Serrenity
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Serrenity

It’s less a wish and more an unavoidable outcome caused by consistent, persistent shady business practices. It’s an issue because publishers / studios can’t self-police as an industry, thereby necessitating government intervention.

I think very few people want government intervention for its own sake and rather long for the outcome of less shitty, shady, business practices in games.

At least that’s how I see it

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Arktouros

You’re just going to trade one shit show for another.

On the game design end the people you think are bad will just get worse. Like people want to regulate lockboxes as gambling but you can already see games like BDO where they moved the gambling from the cash shop to the game itself and instead sell you items that can be used for the in game gambling or ways to cope with recovering from failures on gambling.

On the governmental front there’s any number of ways they can go after gaming. One example they go after harmful things is they add excise taxes on products like Alchohol or Tobacco. Companies having to collect those taxes will just pass that directly onto you and games get more expensive. Alternatively you have the more benign options like meaningless warnings that people will just ignore (IE: a pop up box after playing for an hour warning you about the dangers of gaming addiction).

There’s also the unintended consequences. Most games get by on the idea that the things you spend money on you don’t own nor do they have real world value because they only have value within context of the game world (IE: You can’t take them out of the game world). However if we decide virtual goods have value and therefore can be governed by gambling laws that’s it’s own can of worms. Does that mean I can sue a company for banning me because I can no longer access the digital goods that now have real world value? In any other business that’s theft.

People have no idea what they’re asking for. They just don’t like the situation and are grasping what they think is the easiest straw to fix the situation. It’s just going to make the whole thing worse in so many ways.

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Tandor

Not only that, but in all the many topics on removing lootboxes from games both here and elsewhere, I’ve yet to see a single suggestion as to where the replacement revenue is going to come from, or which parts of the game or its development team should be dropped if there is no replacement revenue.

It seems people won’t pay subscriptions and don’t want lootboxes, so all that’s left is the cash shop and the more a developer relies on that alone for funding the more the cash shop will move to P2W.

Serrenity
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Serrenity

I really think that’s a logical fallacy. You are making a few assumptions here. First is that lockboxes generate revenue — Truth. In fact, they generate waaaay more money than just outright selling the product.

Where I think you make your first logical leap is that alll of the money is required to run or expand the game, rather than being counted as pure profit and used in marketing, developing other games, etc. Which isn’t demonstrably by either of us, but I think it’s dangerous to make that a foregone conclusion.

The next leap you make (which I think you are probably aware of) is that removing lockboxes means the games with P2W. leaving the problematic nature of the concept of P2W in games that don’t have extrinsic an ‘win-state’, it’s a far-fetch to say that every game that currently uses lockboxes will double down on their shadiness/manipulative nature. There are studios that will just migrate to the next legal gray are to continue to exploit players, but those kinds of business will always exist. In short, you don’t need to catastrophize the future to justify how lock-boxes really aren’t that bad. The devil you know beats the devil you don’t, as the saying goes.

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Arktouros

Exactly. Look at the whole Chris Lee thing in Hawaii. When BF2 lockboxes were in the news, he was on the forefront “leading the battle” and posting vids with clever quips at gaming representatives. All that legislation died because there was absolutely zero interest in even looking at the topic. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least if more than a few politicians made out with a goodie bag in donations from the gaming industry as a result.