Spain to restrict the use of loot boxes in video games
The Spanish government announced its intention to regulate the use of loot boxes in video games, with the aim of reducing “reckless, compulsive, even pathological” consumer behavior among gamers.
Legislation proposed by Consumer Affairs Minister Alberto Garzon will apparently be part of the regulations targeting digital items that have financial value in a real or virtual market. This would also cover the sale and distribution of blockchain-backed products like NFTs.
According to Reuters, Garzon said the settlement will still allow players to “have fun” while protecting vulnerable users. This refers to the possible link between players spending large amounts of money on random loot boxes and conventional gambling addiction.
Three in 10 Spanish students apparently spent money on in-game purchases in 2021.
Spain joins the ranks of other European governments like Belgium and the Netherlands in regulating the use of loot boxes in games that can be played within its borders. Belgium and the Netherlands have strictly banned the practice; it is not known if Spain will do the same.
Earlier this year, Blizzard Entertainment was forced to cancel the release of Diablo Immortal in Belgium and the Netherlands for fear of violating the regulations of these countries.
Legal efforts to restrict the use of loot boxes have also emerged in the UK and Canada, although neither company has officially banned the game mechanic. US lawmakers have also expressed interest in investigating on this practice.
For any readers curious about the link between loot boxes and addiction, you can check out the data from two British universitiesor read anecdotes from people from IGN which detail how addictive tendencies interact with the limitless spending potential of this monetization method.