Children and young people are required to obtain parental consent before purchasing in-game known as “loot boxes” in video games
Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary, said today video game publishers and platforms must do more to ensure children cannot purchase in-game items, or ‘loot boxes’, without their parents’ permission.
In several video games, loot boxes are a form of in-game purchase.
To acquire random goods, including “power-ups” to help them compete better in the game and cosmetics like virtual clothes, players can pay real money for a loot box.
According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s call for evidence on loot boxes, players who have purchased loot boxes may be more likely to suffer from issues related to gaming, mental health, money and problem gambling.
Children and adolescents may also be at higher risk.
The government urges that minors and young people are not allowed to purchase loot boxes unless they have permission from a parent or guardian in order to protect players.
Some gaming platforms, like Xbox, have already taken steps to tighten security measures, such as adding choices that require parental consent before minors under 18 can spend money on games. games.
The government intends to build on this by providing strong protections for children across the gaming industry, and it won’t hesitate to explore the law if companies fail to implement enough. safeguards to protect players.
Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary, said:
We want to prevent children from shopping online without their parents’ permission because of in-game purchases like loot boxes.
Gaming companies and platforms need to do more to ensure that age restrictions and controls are in place so players are protected from the danger of gambling-related harm.
Children should be allowed to play video games safely while giving parents and other adults the reassurance they need.
All players should have access to transparent information and spending limits through companies and gaming platforms.
The minority of players who spend an excessive amount of money on loot boxes and who may be more vulnerable to damage should be supported with protections.
To create industry-led initiatives to protect players and reduce the risk of harm, DCMS has created a new working group that will include representatives from gaming companies, platforms and regulators.
This will involve taking measures such as implementing parental controls and ensuring that all players have access to visible and understandable information.
Better evidence is needed, according to the demand for evidence, to better understand the pros and cons of video games.
To help with this, the government will introduce the Video Game Research Framework.
The UK’s world-class video games sector generated £2.9 billion in economic output in 2019, a significant increase from £400 million in 2010.
The government is committed to fostering innovation and expansion of the gaming industry while ensuring that games can be played safely.
Ukie Chief Executive Dr Jo Twist OBE said:
To expand our current efforts to create and spread knowledge about parental controls, we are committed to exploring new avenues to support gamers and parents.
We look forward to close cooperation in the working group and on the video game research framework with the government and other organizations.
TIGA Chief Executive Dr Richard Wilson OBE said:
According to TIGA, game developers should ensure that all gamers can play their games safely.
2020 saw the official adoption of TIGA’s 5 Principles for Gamer Protection, which were created to capture the essence of the strategy game developers should use to run their businesses in the UK.
Without parental permission, children and teens should not be able to purchase video game loot boxes.
According to TIGA, vulnerable adults must be protected from any potential harm caused by treasure chests.
In order to promote measures to protect players from potential harm, the DCMS is forming a working group, and TIGA is looking forward to participating.