Loot boxes have been in the news a lot in recent years, as the controversial form of in-game monetization has come under fire from pretty much all sides. For a lot of people, EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront 2 seemed to be the tipping point when it launched at the tail end of 2017 with overreaching loot boxes, prompting multiple governments around the world to take a closer look at loot boxes following the outcry from players.
Now the Gambling Committee in the UK’s House of Lords has published a report on the matter of loot boxes, and it doesn’t look good for publishers who prefer them as a monetization method. The House of Lords, according to a BBC report, has determined that loot boxes are “games of chance” and should therefore be regulated under the UK’s 2005 Gambling Act.
“If a product looks like gambling and feels like gambling, it should be regulated as gambling,” the House of Lords said in its report. “The government must act immediately to bring loot boxes within the remit of gambling legislation and regulation.”
We could potentially see quick action from the UK’s government on the matter of loot boxes too; while the government plans to focus on loot boxes in a future review of the Gambling Act, the House of Lords’ reports says that the “issue requires more urgent attention,” with the chairman of the Gambling Committee Lord Grade saying that the many of the recommendations put forth in the report could be implemented immediately.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens from here, but with some countries banning loot boxes outright and others looking into regulating them as a form of gambling, it may not be long before most publishers decide that loot boxes are more trouble than they’re worth. Stay tuned.