There’s a good chance you’ve seen the controversies surrounding Loot Boxes. We’ve discussed them on numerous occasions, and there’s been a longstanding debate over whether they’re seen as gambling. Shockingly, publishers tend to disagree, but they’ve come under frequent scrutiny from various governments.
Germany is next in line. Within the Bundestag – German parliament’s lower house – they’ve recently passed a reform to the Youth Protection Act, protecting children from “risks from gambling-like mechanisms”. This would apply for loot boxes, and any game including them will need an 18+ age rating.
Using FIFA as an example – a series that’s drawn repeated criticism over its Ultimate Team mode – you’d suddenly find its rating going from 3+ to 18+. The reform hasn’t passed yet, however, as it’ll need voting on by Parliament’s upper house, the Bundesrat. Pending approval, this could be implemented during Spring.
Germany’s approach follows similar reviews across Europe. Back in 2019, EA backed down over FIFA points in Belgium, later receiving a €10m fine from the Dutch government last October. In the UK, they came under scrutiny last July from the House of Lords and we’re still waiting for the outcome, though a briefing paper was released back in December.
Do you agree with Germany’s proposed approach? Let us know in the comments.