The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has seen enough evidence related to the harm that lootboxes have on children and young adults and is now demanding that game companies act. A statement from the government body is calling on the entire gaming industry to impose parental controls on the purchases of gambleboxes or face legislation.
This call to action was spurred by the DCMS’s request for evidence on the effects of lootboxes, which found that those who bought such boxes were more likely to experience gambling, mental health, and financial harms, and that children and young people are possibly more susceptible to these effects.
As a result, the government body is calling on game devs to voluntarily limit lockbox sales unless approved by a parent or guardian, encouraging restrictions that Xbox has already applied. The DCMS is also planning to bring together games companies, platforms, and regulatory bodies to develop protection measures. If these measures are deemed insufficient, the government is threatening that it “will not hesitate to consider legislation” to curtail the monetization practice.
“Games companies and platforms need to do more to ensure that controls and age-restrictions are applied so that players are protected from the risk of gambling harms,” said Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries. “Children should be free to enjoy gaming safely, whilst giving parents and guardians the peace of mind they need.”
Further reading about lootboxes and UK gambling laws: