EU Votes to Officially Investigate Loot Boxes and Microtransactions!

The debate surrounding loot boxes and microtransactions within games, despite much talk, continues to wage on. – Publishers like EA, Ubisoft, Blizzard, Activision, etc. do not believe that they are a form of gambling, but rather ‘surprise fun mechanics’ (EA’s own words there). The thing is though that pretty much everyone else thinks that they are (because they are!).

Why is this a contentious subject though? Well, if loot boxes are indeed classed as a form of gambling, then this would require any gaming title featuring them to conform to the legal age requirements of gambling. – Again though, why is this a problem? Well, largely because titles like FIFA would automatically be required to have an 18 age rating in the UK as this is the legal age of gambling in that country.

You can see, therefore, why publishers are more than a little keen to distance any comparisons of loot boxes to gambling. – It’s a move that could not just ruin the gravy train, but hugely affect profits moving into the future!

Following a report via TechSpot, however, publishers possibly have a need to feel a bit concerned at the moment as the European Union has officially voted to conduct a full and thorough investigation of this market and potentially to make a final determination as to what, if anything, should be done about it within the law and gaming industry.

EU To Finally Investigate Gaming Loot Boxes & Microtransactions!

The decision from the EU has come following a report submitted regarding the gaming industry and, in blunt terms, allegations that it has, very deliberately, skirted around the issue of extracting money from consumers through predatory practices. – While the report did cover several other areas regarding mental health, they did highlight that loot boxes did represent a definite problem and particularly so for those with addictive tendencies.

They also, incidentally, also looked into allegations that profits made by ‘gold farming’ organisations do potentially funnel their way through to (or via) criminal organisations. – Overall, this is serious stuff and clearly serious enough for the EU to finally get off their backsides and loot into it.

Will they do anything? Hard to say. The fact that they are not formally investigating it, however, is undoubtedly a good and long-overdue start. – If they do legally rule that in-game purchases do qualify as gambling, however, this will represent arguably the biggest shake-up the gaming industry has seen since the crash of 83.

What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!

Mike Sanders

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