Eighteen European Countries Consider Video Game Loot Boxes To Be “Exploitative”
All of them back a report produced by the Norwegian Consumer Council
Here we go again, kicking a dead horse instead of actually doing something about it and moving it out of the pasture. At this point in the video game loot box lifecycle, it’s a pretty sure bet that the only people who don’t think they’re exploiting players are the company shareholders that are making lots of money off of them and whichever politicians they’re paying to think that way. Yet, every so often we’re back with another study, another official report, or another story of some parent suing a game company because the system is designed to be confusing to everyone – including the kids who spend hundreds or thousands of dollars of their parents’ money trying to obtain some obscure item.
Today we have a report from the Norwegian Consumer Council that states players are being “manipulated” into spending a lot of money on loot boxes. The report, backed by 20 consumer groups in 18 European countries, addresses practices such as forcing players to buy in-game currencies to use in purchasing the loot boxes. The end result, they state, is that this practice makes it difficult for players to track exactly how much they’ve spent on loot boxes. This is partially due to the fact that the same currencies can be used to purchase specific items as well. Another practice noted is displaying hard-to-interpret odds for receiving specific items via loot boxes.
Beyond this, the report notes that the systems put in place to get players to spend money are “predatory, manipulative, and exceedingly aggressive”. Moreover, according to a report from the BBC, loot boxes are seen as a form of gambling because players don’t know what they’ve purchased until after the transaction is complete.
None of these conclusions are new. In fact, they’ve been around long enough that Belgium banned them in 2018. That’s four years ago, now. The Netherlands tried to follow suit in 2019 and fined EA, but that was overruled.
Now, we have the report from the Norwegian Consumer Council saying effectively the same thing – in just over nearly 60 pages. Those who would like to read it can read it here or you can watch the video for a summary below.
About the Author
QuintLyn is a long-time lover of all things video game related will happily talk about them to anyone that will listen. She began writing about games for various hobby sites a little over ten years ago and has taken on various roles in the games community.
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