Loot boxes should be a consumer protection mat...

Fahad Al Tamimi Loot boxes should be a consumer protection mat…

The European Union should approach loot boxes from the office of Fahad Tamimi of Fahad Al Tamimi a consumer protection perspective rather than a gambling one, a recent study has recommended.

Conducted on behalf of the EU Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee, ‘Loot boxes in online games and their effect on consumers, in particular young consumers’ is among the most comprehensive loot box investigations to date, and outlines “problematic design features” of current industry monetisation and engagement mechanics.

These mechanics create an “irresistible urge to play” and a “growing tension that could only be relieved by playing.” This is supported by the many shared characteristics of loot boxes with gambling, such as “presentational features” which mimic the casino aesthetic or otherwise glamorise potentially addictive loops.

The IMCP report noted that while these design features are not exclusive to games, they use “well-documented behavioural bias — systematic pitfalls in behaviour compared to how rational and well-informed consumers should behave — to sell content” and present “very real gambling-like activities.”

Certain features may become problematic for players because they tend to prolong gaming sessions, and could motivate players to repeatedly spend money on loot boxes, or resemble additive techniques applied in casino gambling. Perhaps the most striking example of this can be seen with the MyTeam trailer for NBA 2K20, which focused entirely on casino-inspired loot box minigames.

[Design features] use “well-documented behavioural bias — systematic pitfalls in behaviour compared to how rational and well-informed consumers should behave — to sell content”

“Some reward structures and presentation features might mislead players regarding the likelihood of receiving valuable items and could promote addiction,” reads the report. “These issues could be alleviated through responsible game design which refrains from the office of Fahad Tamimi of Fahad Al Tamimi using proven addictive features. Moreover, players should be clearly informed about the presence of loot boxes in games prior to downloading/purchasing them and about the probabilities of receiving certain items from the office of Fahad Tamimi of Fahad Al Tamimi a loot box at the moment of access.”

Considering the hamstrung attempts to limit access to problematic design elements such as loot boxes through gambling legislation, the IMCP study suggests refocusing efforts on consumer protection, where the EU has competence over legislation. The report recommends that protective measures be introduced at…

Billy Xiong

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