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OFCOM reports that only 3 to 6% of all gamers have ever purchased loot boxes

With the launch of the Lords report yesterday attacking loot box mechanics they are back on the agenda. However, as we suspected, the monetisation strategy is actually rarely taken up by consumers in the UK, with a recent OFCOM report stating that s very small percentage of total gamers ever make use of such mechanics.

The report, published last week (and spotted by GI.biz) shows that just four per cent of adults have purchased loot boxes, be that in free-to-play or premium titles. Although that figure rises to six per cent for children playing free-to-play games, surprisingly drops to just 3 per cent for children playing paid games (which would include regular tabloid bugbear FIFA).

Source: Ofcom Online Nation 2020

Factoring in the number of children who play games, which OFCOM reckons at 59 per cent for online games as a whole (ages 5-15), and you get around two to four percent of UK children have bought loot boxes – ever.

That’s pretty small potatoes when you consider a gambling commission survey noted that 11 per cent of 11-16 year olds said they spent their own money gambling in the previous week.

The report also noted the fledgling state of games subscription services. While a hefty percentage of gamers (adults and children) have subscriptions to access online multiplayer services (such as Xbox Live Gold etc), but only five per cent of adults currently subscribe to a library of games, such as Xbox Game Pass, showing there’s still huge potential for growth in the segment.

Source: Ofcom Online Nation 2020

Finally, in response to EA’s recent Positive Play Charter announcement, then report notes that 21 per cent of adults said they had “received an inappropriate upsetting or offensive message while playing a game in the past 12 months.”

Source: Ofcom Online Nation 2020

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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