As gamers will recall, the UK government’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee panel has been investigating addictive technologies for the better part of the last year – if you saw EA’s “surprise mechanics” nonsense speech, that came from one of the committee’s multiple hearings on the topic. The committee’s research has now concluded, and it’s delivered a final report.
You can read the entire report over on the committee’s website, but the short version is that it “calls upon games companies to accept responsibility for addictive gaming disorders, protect their players from potential harms due to excessive play-time and spending, and along with social media companies introduce more effective age verification tools for users.” Specifically, it’s determined that the government should indeed be regulating lockboxes under the Gambling Act, that the sale of lockboxes to kids should banned, and that the “games industry must face up to responsibilities to protect players from potential harms,” among other things.
The committee’s summary is particularly venomous toward the games industry, saying it’s been “wilfully obtuse” on the topic, so yeah the MPs didn’t buy the awful Kinder Egg argument either.
“MPs found it difficult to get full and clear answers, expressing disappointment at the way some representatives engaged with the inquiry, particularly in acknowledging what data is collected, how it is used and the psychological underpinning of how products are designed. Representatives from the games industry were found to be wilfully obtuse in answering questions about typical patterns of play, considered essential information in better understanding of engagement with gaming. Some games and social media company representatives were found to have ‘demonstrated a lack of honesty and transparency’ in giving evidence, with the Report questioning what companies had to hide.”
GIbiz says it contacted multiple major companies, but only EA, bless its heart, replied. “We have reviewed and are closely considering the findings of the DCMS Committee report,” a rep told GIbiz. “While we don’t agree with all of the conclusions and recommendations in the report, we do take our responsibilities to players of all ages very seriously.”