A French senator has written a letter to France’s gambling regulators voicing his concerns regarding the prevalent trend of loot boxes and micro-transactions in gaming.
The letter was addressed to the president of ARJEL, the French organization responsible for gambling regulations. Senator Jérôme Durain said the following:
“While I do not think it is necessary at this stage to put in place specific legislation, I wonder about the desirability of providing consumer protection in this area. The use of loot boxes conferring cosmetic additions to the games seems well-accepted by the public. The development of so-called pay-to-win practices is more contentious, as shown by the recent controversy over the game Star Wars Battlefront 2. Quite aside from the acceptance of the practice, some observers point to a convergence of the video game world and practices specific to gambling.”
“Transparency is not common with regard to statistics governing loot boxes, even though good practices sometimes exist,” Durain continued. “China has decided in favour of a transparency of win ratios. Some of our European neighbours (the United Kingdom and Belgium in particular) are looking into the matter through their regulatory authorities. So we see that the question is not unique to France. Does ARJEL have the infrastructure necessary for a general census of win ratios for micro transactions?”
In October, a British Labour MP named Daniel Zeichner opened an inquiry that asked what the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport planned to do to “help protect vulnerable adults and children from illegal gambling, in-game gambling and loot boxes within computer games.”. It will be interesting to see the level of concern increase from parties outside the gaming sphere as more and more games start adopting loot box and micro-transaction systems.
To end the letter, Durain brought up the fact that in addition to ARJEL, he had sent letters inquiring about the current micro-transaction and loot box video game climate to several gaming related organizations.
A copy of the letter can be viewed on Resetera.
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