"Loot boxes", a challenge for the video game industry divided between self-regulation and government control

“Loot boxes”, a challenge for the video game industry divided between self-regulation and government control

PARIS, June 1 (Benin News / EP) –

The regulation of the “loot boxes” or reward chests is one of the priorities of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, which has expressed a desire to create legislation to control the supply of such additional paid content in video games.

How to approach it and the techniques to be able to carry out this control have been the subject on which “Loot Boxes. New challenges for the video game industry. ”an event that took place this Wednesday at the Espai Fundació Telefónica.

The event, organized by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, took place in the presence of the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Alberto Garzónwho opened the event, highlighting the current vision of the video game industry and the relevance of such activities. monetization mechanisms.

First, he focused on the importance of regulating reward chests – also known as loot boxes – in Spain, and shared an important fact about their influence on young players. Three out of ten college students said they spent money on video games in 2021.

This population group is one of the main consumers of this type of content and, in turn, one of the most affected by consumerist trends that can generate in them the loot boxes during gaming sessions.

“Loot boxes have been introduced whose characteristics are very close to traditional games of chance.for their randomness and for the prizes they offer with evaluable value “, said Mr. Garzón, establishing the thread of the debate that followed in a round table formed by experts from the video game industry.

It should be remembered that last Friday, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs formalized the call for public consultation by the European Commission. Bill to regulate random mechanisms reward mechanisms, an initiative that dates back to before the pandemic.

Mr. Garzón took the opportunity to announce that the Government is working on drafting regulations adapted to the needs of the sector, and that it intends to “introduce a specific law on this issue in the coming weeks.”

For a broader view, the event was attended by Juan Francisco Navas, member of the Advisory Board of Responsible Gaming, Tamara Antona Jimeno, director of the UNIR Transfer Office, José María Moreno, director general of the Spanish Video Game Association (AEVI). ), Marta Trivi, a journalist specializing in video games, and Mikel Arana, general manager of gaming regulations.

Juan Francisco Navas, also a professor at the Complutense University of Madrid, insisted that there is a link between loot boxes and video game addiction and that there is “a high degree of overlap between people who buy these boxes and people who are addicted to gambling.

” They are predatory monetization elementsThe researcher said: “Predatory monetization elements, which in most cases are opaque, generate a gateway effect, as we found that 20% of consumers who started an activity, such as video games, went end up in another, like gambling.

Tamara Antona Jimeno, for her part, agreed with Navas’ statements and stressed that “the fact that there are significant indicators of this relationship is relevant enough to suspect a problem ”.

He also took the opportunity to point out one of the problems of this type of microtransactions, which is that it does not reflect the actual consumption of money. “In order to promote self-regulation, it is necessary for the player be aware of what you spend on real money. when using virtual money, “he said.

Journalist María Trivi took advantage of this gap to detail the loot boxes of video games “Present dark patterns that mimic certain casino models ”and that“ loot boxes ”are especially numerous in large companies such as Square or Ubisoft.

For his part, the Director General of Gambling Regulation has stated that while some of these loot boxes may “meet the standards of gambling”, it is necessary to differentiate between them.

For the time being, he proposed studying those that are inside the video games themselves, those that are outside and those that are presented on platforms dedicated to offering titles.

THE STIGMA IN THE WORLD OF GAMES

The discordant voice was that of José María Moreno, who recalled that “the assimilation of ‘loot boxes’ into ‘gaming’ creates disproportionate damage to the video game industry”.

“The studies mentioned they are not enough to equate the random video game industry. There is no need to get involved in the stigma of the loot boxes because it ends up contaminating the whole of video games, “he added.

He also recalled that players “may choose to consume them or not, due to the extensive catalog available” and that “most of this revenue in the video game industry does not come from these boxes. of reward “.

Finally, he stressed the need to separate the two game formats, stressing that “this model contributed to the decrease in piracy, while Spain was one of the most disadvantaged countries in this respect ”.

As for the stigma of video games, Mr. Trivi said one of the main problems is that the media and other social actors tend to offer video games that are out of fashion. a negative profile of the sector.

Thus, he commented on one of the possible solutions to this problem, which is none other than “integrating video games into culture, which appear in the sections dedicated to them, as film or music do.”

SELF-REGULATION AND LAW

In the conclusions section, the need for player-consumer self-regulation and regulation by law of this type of digital transactions was highlighted.

For his part, Mr. Navas stressed the need to take into account different aspects, including the following: “, From the design to the marketing of the product, so that no problems arise in the future ”.

Antona Jimeno recalled that further research is needed to better understand this industry and how it interacts with the actors, in order to obtain more enlightening results “but not conclusive”.

The website Pan-European Games Information System (PEGI), Trivi has highlighted a self-regulatory mechanism designed by the industry to provide its products with information indicative of the recommended age for consumption.

“I don’t think PEGI is known to many parents, who don’t know exactly how it works. However, I do not believe in self-regulation because the industry has always tried to self-regulate in many ways and has failed.

Arana also pointed out that the General Directorate of Gambling Regulation had it “Intense dialogue with other European regulators create a strong bill ”specific and different from the regulation of gambling (Law 13/2011).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.