Video game loot boxes have recently been a contentious issue in video games, with everyone offering an opinion. It’s almost like loot boxes have only just appeared, and haven’t been in games for years, a slippery slope gaming accepted when it first purchased armour for their horse in Oblivion for a fiver.
Many esports are funded off the back of loot boxes, with Overwatch, CS:GO and Dota 2 all making serious cash from in game boxes of loot. Now, after annoyance at loot boxes stirring out of the release of Orc stab ‘em up Shadow of War, the discourse has made its way to parliament.
Daniel Zeichner, the Labour MP for Cambridge, has brought up questions about the links between in-game loot boxes and gambling. Zeichner submitted these questions to parliament on October 6th, and the UK government will now have to respond within a month.
Meanwhile, a petition has been set up regarding adapting UK gambling laws to include loot boxes that target children, and with over 10k signatures, the government will need to provide a response to that too.
Whether this will lead to anything remains to be seen. Loot boxes certainly appear to have more in common with sticker books or Pokémon cards than slot machines or roulette, and it seems that if the industry wasn’t regulated after the catastrophic CSGO Lotto drama last year, it’s unlikely it’ll be legislated against now.
Still, now it’s officially on the UK government’s radar, we’ll have to wait and see what comes next, which could be disastrous for free to play and online games that are relying on loot boxes as a model to fund their crowdfund tournaments or sell cosmetics to fund further development.