At the beginning of this 2020, the Minister of Consumer Affairs of Europe, Alberto Garzon, addressed the issue of loot boxes in the national territory. In a first statement, he assured that “We have to explore what is the reality at the moment”, as the government’s intention is to limit its activity.
Now our colleagues from Engadget, they have conducted an in-depth interview with the minister, addressing various topics such as online gaming, the future of telecommunications or the loot boxes themselves.
Alberto Garzón’s premise in this regard is simple: “we are going to regulate them (the loot boxes) with one objective, which is to protect the child
According to the minister, these types of elements within video games “induce mental schemes in which this type of consumption is normalized, and, therefore, you are basically normalizing slot machines outside the video game as well. It is well proven that it has very important psychological, physical and economic consequences “.
In addition, it ensures that “if you are in a competitive environment in which you can win prizes for 10, 15 or 20 dollars and this can mean some social recognition in your environment, that is inducing you to a compulsive consumption “.
Conversation with the developers and the example of Belgium
How could it be otherwise, the most important agents of the industry in Europe will be involved in the process. AEVI (Spanish Association of Videogames) is in contact with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, as well as independent developers. “It is the great models that perhaps, in a dynamic to avoid piracy that existed ten years ago, are introducing a new business model to earn money in other ways. It is perfectly legitimate, but, in this case, we are referring to a black point of that model
Belgium has become a beacon for the rest of the countries when it comes to addressing this issue, since since the Belgian government has adopted a more radical position, prohibiting its use. However, Alberto Garzón reassures companies, since “we do not want to make the video game unprofitable. We want video games to be profitable, but always preserving public health“.
What’s more, the Spanish government is in talks with the Belgian to learn first-hand about his experience. Among the measures that will be used to preserve the regularization of this content, there is “a monitoring of the market and, of course, there can always be complaints”.
Another complex issue is one that consists of differentiating the competitive loot box from the cosmetic one. Garzón indicates that “we will only incorporate what includes chance in the middle. If what there is is a benefit that a user pays because they want to, or because they get improvements or to avoid having to spend 60 hours playing and be able to finish the game earlier, let’s say that falls within the scope of individual decision. “
Finally, the minister has assured that they will submit the matter to a public consultation. And on an approximate date for the processing of the law, Garzón believes that “throughout 2021 it will be. The only thing is that there is a double process: the consultation and dense information process to be able to make the decision and then there is the parliamentary process, which we hope will not be too long. “
Just a month ago the Government of Europe already announced that began the procedures for the implementation of this law. Other European countries like France have adopted their own measures in this regard, while ua law firm has come to load even against Fortnite.