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Here could be the start of another nail in the coffin for loot boxes, as the Children's Commissioner in England has put out a new report after a little study was done.

Never heard of the Children's Commissioner? It's a public independent body in England that is responsible for promoting and protecting the rights of children (read more here). The current head is Anne Longfield, who today released a pretty damning report on the state of how certain games and companies really attempt to suck money out of people at every opportunity.

I won't quote all of it to spare you some of the things we all already know but it's good to see such a thing being done over here. It's needed, it has been for a long time now. This particular study had them speak to children between 10 to 16 about their gaming habits, what they liked and disliked and so on. Games included that were talked about include Fortnite, Call of Duty, FIFA, Roblox and more which do have some pretty aggressive advertising of the in-game items and subscriptions.

Not all of it is terrible in the report though, thankfully Longfield does carefully mention how playing games can help people to socialise, learn new skills and have fun. All of this applies to adults, just as much as it does to children both the pros and cons of it all.

The result of the study is where it gets interesting. The Commissioner has called for multiple things to be changed, a few of which I will summarise below:

  • A place to track historic spending in games
  • A maximum daily spending limit in the games as well
  • Calls on the UK government to adjust the Gambling Act to regulate loot boxes as gambling
  • Calls on the UK government to have a wider review into the definition of gambling in the Gambling Act, due to all the new forms of monetization appearing in games
  • Games distributed online should get a legally enforceable age-rating system like physical games
  • A requirement of additional warnings for games which have in-game transactions

This bit especially caught my attention:

The amount of money spent, and the lack of a guaranteed reward meant children often feel like their money is wasted. In some cases, they lose control of their spending and attempt to ‘chase losses’ by spending more.

That sure as hell sounds like gambling to me…

You can find the full report here.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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58 comments
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Beamboom 22 October 2019 at 2:27 pm UTC
Ok so this escalated quickly
Liam Dawe 22 October 2019 at 2:29 pm UTC
BeamboomOk so this escalated quickly
ORRRDUUURRRR
fagnerln 22 October 2019 at 2:43 pm UTC
Liam Dawe
fagnerlnHERE WE GO AGAIN...

We don't need the government controlling even more our lives, the parents should moderate what their children are using.
Except many don't and that's without getting into the issues that the report brings up, with bullying when some kids don't have what others do due to the microtransactions and so on. There's an absolute ton of reasons why this sort of legislation is necessary and it's not just for kids too, you do realise this kind of gambling and blowing money on loot boxes/micro happens very regularly to adults too right?

Don't be so naive.

I know that microtransactions are bad, but the parent should be closer to their kid and show what is bad, explain the things and ban the game. That simple.

To adults, they are responsible, they have their money and do whatever they want. Want to lose all the salary trying a nice skin, OK. If they want to spend all on drugs, OK. If they want to do an investment with the money, better! But isn't I or the government that should control the life of other people. This is freedom

Ah, and talking about drugs, I bet that mostly of you in the comments support the "free drugs" movement. "People are free to use any drug they want, because they 'own' yourselves, but gambling, nah, please government, save them", ironic
Eike 22 October 2019 at 2:46 pm UTC
fagnerlnAh, and talking about drugs, I bet that mostly of you in the comments support the "free drugs" movement. "People are free to use any drug they want, because they 'own' yourselves, but gambling, nah, please government, save them", ironic

Ironically, you pointed at the difference between adults and kids yourself in the very same posting...
Ardje 22 October 2019 at 2:52 pm UTC
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Sounds pretty good.
Pay to win games are mostly created around how they can manipulate the player as much as possible so he will lower his resistance to paying and eventually pay and pay more and more. There have been a lot of studies to how you can get players addicted and paying.
Put those techniques in a slim gaming jacket and you get an endless income.
Fellow developers pointed at this research with much shame, because, let's face it, it's disgusting if the primary drive is to program addiction stimulants, and only after that maybe a gaming concept.
It's hard for parents to understand how far the gaming industry go to get their children addicted.
I've seen it from up close too on that game promoted by Arnold Schwarzenegger, mobile strike.
It really had a big load of addiction stimulants, like advanced forms of peer pressure.
Even for me as an adult it was hard to say no. The only way actually was to just delete the game and block the accounts. I was in it for 100 euro. But for some a weekend of $2000 was normal.
And these were not even kids. And the game sucked to be honest.
So am I against loot boxes? Not really. But I am really against paid for lootboxes. And I am in favour of controlled expenses. The expenses should never exceed a simple $5 a month for a child. That's still $60 a year.
And I am against peer pressure techniques and all other addiction stimulants they purposely put in games.
Maybe they should concentrate on creating a good game instead of an addictive game. There really is a difference.

So yes please... bring back the fun in gaming.
(Also, anyone remember the PUBG mobile murder where a 26 year old "child" murdered his father because he refused to pay for any more loot boxes and confiscated his mobile phone. That kid was severely addicted. Let's hope he was one of a kind).
fagnerln 22 October 2019 at 2:53 pm UTC
Eike
fagnerlnAh, and talking about drugs, I bet that mostly of you in the comments support the "free drugs" movement. "People are free to use any drug they want, because they 'own' yourselves, but gambling, nah, please government, save them", ironic

Ironically, you pointed at the difference between adults and kids yourself in the very same posting...

The adult is responsible for the children, not the government, is that hard to get?

I known a boy that used their father's credit card, ONCE. The father explained to him that this is a bad thing. Maybe if the father spent some time with the kid, maybe this didn't happened the first time.
Liam Dawe 22 October 2019 at 2:55 pm UTC
fagnerln
Eike
fagnerlnAh, and talking about drugs, I bet that mostly of you in the comments support the "free drugs" movement. "People are free to use any drug they want, because they 'own' yourselves, but gambling, nah, please government, save them", ironic

Ironically, you pointed at the difference between adults and kids yourself in the very same posting...

The adult is responsible for the children, not the government, is that hard to get?

I known a boy that used their father's credit card, ONCE. The father explained to him that this is a bad thing. Maybe if the father spent some time with the kid, maybe this didn't happened the first time.
You are so incredibly naive and narrow minded, I'm genuinely amazed.

I've seen first-hand how gambling can ruin an adult's life, just as much as a child.
mirv 22 October 2019 at 2:56 pm UTC
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fagnerln
Liam Dawe
fagnerlnHERE WE GO AGAIN...

We don't need the government controlling even more our lives, the parents should moderate what their children are using.
Except many don't and that's without getting into the issues that the report brings up, with bullying when some kids don't have what others do due to the microtransactions and so on. There's an absolute ton of reasons why this sort of legislation is necessary and it's not just for kids too, you do realise this kind of gambling and blowing money on loot boxes/micro happens very regularly to adults too right?

Don't be so naive.

I know that microtransactions are bad, but the parent should be closer to their kid and show what is bad, explain the things and ban the game. That simple.

To adults, they are responsible, they have their money and do whatever they want. Want to lose all the salary trying a nice skin, OK. If they want to spend all on drugs, OK. If they want to do an investment with the money, better! But isn't I or the government that should control the life of other people. This is freedom

Ah, and talking about drugs, I bet that mostly of you in the comments support the "free drugs" movement. "People are free to use any drug they want, because they 'own' yourselves, but gambling, nah, please government, save them", ironic

Although that might sound reasonable, the predatory tactics used by companies must be removed for the parents to be able to do their "job" properly. The same applies to grown adults. The tactics these companies employ don't target people who can already reasonably respond to the whole situation; the companies target those who can't.

Parents getting pestered by their child to get something because everybody has one is nothing new. Be it a particular brand of shoes, or a playing card, a phone, whatever. But the ease with which gaming companies can influence those decisions is something that should be regulated.

On this subject I can heartily recommend Jim Sterling. He's done some good videos on this very topic, with some proper research and thought out points on the matter.
Eike 22 October 2019 at 3:09 pm UTC
fagnerln
Eike
fagnerlnAh, and talking about drugs, I bet that mostly of you in the comments support the "free drugs" movement. "People are free to use any drug they want, because they 'own' yourselves, but gambling, nah, please government, save them", ironic

Ironically, you pointed at the difference between adults and kids yourself in the very same posting...

The adult is responsible for the children, not the government, is that hard to get?

We've been talking about your drugs example (that's why I quoted it). So what's your conclusion of "The adult is responsible for the children, not the government" with respect to this topic, drug legalization?
Rooster 22 October 2019 at 3:38 pm UTC
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fagnerln
Eike
fagnerlnAh, and talking about drugs, I bet that mostly of you in the comments support the "free drugs" movement. "People are free to use any drug they want, because they 'own' yourselves, but gambling, nah, please government, save them", ironic

Ironically, you pointed at the difference between adults and kids yourself in the very same posting...

The adult is responsible for the children, not the government, is that hard to get?

I known a boy that used their father's credit card, ONCE. The father explained to him that this is a bad thing. Maybe if the father spent some time with the kid, maybe this didn't happened the first time.

fagnerln, do you have children? Don't take this the wrong way, but like Liam said, you are incredibly naive.

Your philosophy is great in theory, but reality is more something like this:
- No Timmy, you can't play this game, it contains gambling.
- But daaad, they said on TV that it is not gambling!
- I know Timmy, but they are wrong. It is gambling because this and this..
- But dad, John's parents allow him to play it!
- Well, they are wrong to do so. In any case, you can't play it and that's final.
- Not fair, I hate you dad!

Your philosophy might work if all the parents were responsible and didn't spoil their children, but that is not the world we live in.

As for your example, let me share something from my personal life that I'm ashamed of: When I was a kid, I stole money from my mother's purse to buy a pack of Pokemon cards (you know, the old form of loot boxes). It was the only time I ever did such a thing and I felt really bad about doing it. But I reaaaaly reaaaly wanted to have that scyther and I run out of my own money trying to get it. I thought that if I could just buy one more pack, I'm sure to get it or something else cool.

To this day, my mother doesn't know about it. I can assure you, the problem wasn't on how she raised me, she was always strict with me.

So yeah, it is unfortunate, but we need laws to help parents with raising their children. You can't watch them 24/7 and even if you raise them in the best way possible, they are going to get influenced by their enviroment (classmates, teachers, media etc...).
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