Support us on Patreon to keep GamingOnLinux alive. This ensures we have no timed articles and no paywalls. Just good, fresh content! Alternatively, you can donate through Paypal, Flattr and Liberapay!

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.
19 Likes, Who?
We do often include affiliate links to earn us some pennies. We are currently affiliated with GOG, Humble Store and Paradox Interactive. See more information here.
About the author -
I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
See more from me
58 comments
Page: «6/6
  Go to:

Appelsin 23 October 2019 at 11:32 pm UTC
fagnerlnTo 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

You're still free to do as you want. It's the companies that are being controlled here, and restrained from exploiting kids and adults alike.

Having a government that protects you from being fucked in the A by a multi-billion dollar company is freedome.
Having said company employ quite shrewd psychology to actively manipulate people is not.
Having said company ruin games to sell you a fix isn't "freedom", it's just fucking anoying.


People are free; companies should be regulated to hell and back.
Mal 24 October 2019 at 8:29 am UTC
namikoIt's an issue of responsibility: How much should the average citizen be responsible for their own foolish mistakes?

Your average citizen has little issues with loot boxes. Apart from playing a game that is made purposely inconvenient and more frustrating to make loot boxes more appealing and the constant psychological pressure that derives from that. But when it comes to fork additional money, the average user will just pass.

Your minority of gambling vulnerable/addicted individuals instead (be it for education issues, brain damage, genetic trait), the so called whales, they'll do have issues given that they simply can't control their spending when stimulated in specific ways.

In this society it's immoral to build stadiums and train stations that are hard to access just so that the service owner can exploit people with handicaps and sell them "premium entrances" or "golden exit passes" so they can move without inconveniences for a price. And because of course predatory entrepreneurs have already thought of that, there are laws that regulate this matter strictly everywhere.

Yet when it comes to behavioral handicaps many people believe that everything should be allowed and the disadvantaged guys (the "whales") exploited and abused. Micro transactions to stimulate collectionism instincts and hide total prices. Loot boxes with flashy special effects to trigger the instant gratification chemistry. How vicious mechanics like these fits into a videogame where ideally one would just sit down and relax instead of stay constantly on the alert to avoid manipulation is beyond my comprehension. Especially because it's nothing new: these are well understood mechanics that are already strictly regulated when it comes to physical games. Why are we discussing this again on digital games? Brains are still brains. We didn't evolve in a new specie. The vulnerabilities that were here yesterday are still here today.


Last edited by Mal on 24 October 2019 at 10:08 am UTC
Scattershot 24 October 2019 at 12:42 pm UTC
Purple Library GuyI'm not sure I understand how a profitable gambling establishment can exist without taking advantage of its clients. It's giving them nothing and taking their money, by definition.

I suspect we're talking at cross purposes. I'm talking about taking advantage of people who are not competent manage their own affairs; children and people with known self-control issues being the prime examples.

That said, using the definition I think you're using, if you take the body of clients as a group, then I agree. I also see nothing wrong with that; it's no different to how any business operates. If you look at individual clients then you're wrong. Many clients win, and that's ignoring the non-financial benefit of entertainment.

Purple Library GuyWhat you're describing is the establishment of some sort of consensus of how much "taking advantage" our society considers reasonable. But as soon as you acknowledge that, it becomes clear that this is not a line that must exist at a particular place as you're trying to say, but rather that there are a constellation of social values that contribute to where we might want to put that line.

I don't disagree here. I was not trying to place the line in a hard way, just place a lower limit of it. The lower limit for me is where the government tries to impose a competent person's ability to free action when it does not directly impact on someone else's ability to do the same. Any variability after that is up for discussion. Attempting to breach that line is, for me, too authoritarian.

Purple Library GuyAnd if we actually wanted to ensure that there is no taking-advantage happening, we would in fact have to make gambling enterprises illegal.

Why? We already have legislation to prevent exploitation. If it needs to be better enforced then sure. If it needs to be improved, fine. Making gambling illegal is just ridiculous. Although again, this one may be us using different definitions of "taking advantage".
Scattershot 24 October 2019 at 12:51 pm UTC
denyasisI agree with you and the answer for us was "sort of". I don't manage our Amazon account. But from what my wife told me, since it's linked to our Amazon account online, the device apparently defaulted to the default payment for my wife's Amazon Prime account, which is saved online. We've actually never purchased anything on the device before, so that's the only logical way it could have happened.

Ohh, nasty.

denyasisOf course. Once a kid figured out the parent's PIN, gets a hold of their phone, our gets their own credit card, it's all over. I can't think of any system that can cover that without brining a huge number of privacy issues.

Agreed. This is where parents need to be much more careful over their credentials and device holding them. It's not just children either. Too many people are far too blasé about security in general.

denyasisMy country/society is really big on the parental override, so if it were to be implemented here instead of the UK, that would be a "must-have" component of any regulation. Is the UK the same way? Like limiting the kid, but allowing the parent to override the law with their consent and approval?

Legally it's a bit hit and miss. Alcohol is a hard no, for example. Film age ratings are much softer. However, the practicality of it is that what the parent does in their home can not be easily controlled, and no one worries about it too much unless actual harm comes to a child.
Nezchan 24 October 2019 at 2:31 pm UTC
Mal
namikoIt's an issue of responsibility: How much should the average citizen be responsible for their own foolish mistakes?

Your average citizen has little issues with loot boxes. Apart from playing a game that is made purposely inconvenient and more frustrating to make loot boxes more appealing and the constant psychological pressure that derives from that. But when it comes to fork additional money, the average user will just pass.

Your minority of gambling vulnerable/addicted individuals instead (be it for education issues, brain damage, genetic trait), the so called whales, they'll do have issues given that they simply can't control their spending when stimulated in specific ways.

It's worth noting that the majority of people are not immune to psychological pressure and manipulation, even if they think they are. It's possible that some people who don't respond to social cues and the like are not vulnerable, but the rest of us are. You can tell yourself that you're immune to marketing all you like, but you're not. Neither am I. If it was only the very vulnerable (prone to addition, children, etc.) who are affected by this stuff, predatory practices in games like Fortnite or Candy Crush wouldn't be as widespread a problem as they are.

There's a word for people who think they can't be cheated: marks.
Appelsin 24 October 2019 at 3:27 pm UTC
NezchanIt's worth noting that the majority of people are not immune to psychological pressure and manipulation, even if they think they are. It's possible that some people who don't respond to social cues and the like are not vulnerable, but the rest of us are. You can tell yourself that you're immune to marketing all you like, but you're not. Neither am I. If it was only the very vulnerable (prone to addition, children, etc.) who are affected by this stuff, predatory practices in games like Fortnite or Candy Crush wouldn't be as widespread a problem as they are.

There's a word for people who think they can't be cheated: marks.

For example, one could easily argue that the people who profess themselves as "not affected by marketing and manipulation", bemoan the need for "freedom" for companies to do as they like, and that it's people's own fault that they fall prey to manipulation tactics, are, in fact, the ones that have been manipulated the most; manipulated into siding with unscrupulous entities whose sole purpose is to squeeze as much profit out of you, other people and the world as they possibly can, in the shortest time possible, consequences be damned.


Last edited by Appelsin on 24 October 2019 at 3:28 pm UTC
Purple Library Guy 24 October 2019 at 5:19 pm UTC
NezchanThere's a word for people who think they can't be cheated: marks.
They say if you look around a poker table and can't spot the chump, it's you.
Mal 24 October 2019 at 6:00 pm UTC
NezchanIt's worth noting that the majority of people are not immune to psychological pressure and manipulation, even if they think they are.

Ofc. We all have our moments of weakness. I have at least. For instance I remember years ago once, in a 2 weeks long business trip abroad, during the week end in an hotel room in the middle of nowhere, far from friends and my girlfriend, tired from a week of long hours, bored and lonely... I bought a hearthstone pack bundle. Normally I wouldn't but that time I did because I was weak and I thought why not threat me some instant gratification.

But the difference is that for me it ended up there. Literally. A moment of weakness that resulted in a negligible financial loss and some new "antibodies" released in my system thanks to the experience. For other people though that would have been the beginning of an addiction they could never recover from without help.

It's not just wrong that videogame publishers business today is to disseminate traps around waiting for the inevitable moment of weakness of a helpless whale out there so they can harpoon it and slowly suck all the life out of it. It's sad. Because they are not whales, they are people.
  Go to:
While you're here, please consider supporting GamingOnLinux on Patreon, Liberapay or Paypal. We have no adverts, no paywalls, no timed exclusive articles. Just good, fresh content. Without your continued support, we simply could not continue!

You can find even more ways to support us on this dedicated page any time. If you already are, thank you!

You need to Register and Login to comment, submit articles and more.


Or login with...

Livestreams & Videos
Community Livestreams
  • Puzzle Tiles: „MOLEK-SYNTEZ“
  • Date:
See more!
Popular this week
View by Category
Contact
Latest Comments
Latest Forum Posts