It looks like companies like Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard may be feeling a bit hot under the collar in the UK, with the House of Lords officially certifying that Loot Boxes within games should be regulated in the same way as gambling is.
Covered here in an article by the BBC and also in a great video by Jim Sterling, the ruling said that the mechanics are clearly “games of chance” which means they fall under the Gaming Act of 2005. This means that, moving forwards, they will be heavily scrutinised when utilised in games, especially if children are potentially going to have access to the titles in question.
This means that despite the awkward squirming we saw last year, with EA labelling the loot box as less of a gambling device and more of a “surprise mechanic”, politicians weren’t convinced.
Described as a force that’s teaching “kids to gamble” Lord Grade, the chairman of the committee said that the act is actually “way behind” when it comes to keeping up to date with modern advances, however, he also said that regulations could “be enacted today” due to legislation already exiting on the topic.
One thing’s for sure.
I doubt Andrew Wilson or Bobby Kotick are happy.