The loot box controversy in the United Kingdom is far from over. A popular means for carrying out microtransactions within video games, loot boxes have become an essential part of revenue generation for many games.
New research coming from the University of York shows that their presence in games has increased once again by four percent.
The recent study of the gaming industry shows that 71 percent of the games on the market have some form of loot box that can be bought by players. Microtransactions have also increased over the years and now 86 percent of games having some sort of microtransactions taking place within them.
In the past, when you bought a video game, you enjoyed the game and did not have to worry about paying more during the game to access special features. Players got the full video game package when they bought it. Things have changed over the years as video game companies become hungrier for profits, they have hit upon the idea of selling players in-game enhancements and special items via loot boxes that make the gaming experience more interesting but also more expensive!
Loot box purchasing has been likened to slot machines and can be quite addictive, especially with children. This is because players have no idea what items they are purchasing when they buy a loot box. All the items in a loot box are generated at random much like a slot machine which is why gaming regulators and anti-gambling groups are concerned that loot boxes are promoting gambling addiction amongst minors.
The majority of video game players are young people. In the UK alone, 93 percent of youngsters from 10 to 16 play video games and it is fair to say that a large majority of these children are being exposed to loot boxes. UK legislators have looked at loot boxes in recent years but have so far resisted the push to classify loot boxes as gambling.
Developers Experimenting With Subscription Model
Many of the top video game developers are aware that it is only a matter of time before countries like the UK tighten their laws and follow Belgium, China and the Netherlands in banning loot boxes or imposing strict regulations.
These video game developers are now experimenting with a subscription based model which will enable them to remove loot boxes from their games but still collect money regularly from players who enjoy their games.