The gaming industry is one of those spheres that is growing at a fast pace. It is what many tech firms invest a lot in. But like many other niches, there are serious issues in it related to user/buyer rights protection. This is what the European Parliament focuses on now. Deputies paid special attention to the protection of children's rights. EP also decided to support the video game segment and established an award in the industry.
The report was prepared by MEP Adriana Maldonado López (Spain) and received 577 votes for, 56 against, and 15 abstentions. The report reads that video game players should have better protection against manipulative practices and addiction. Those studios that make games for kids should take into account their age, and rights. The author of the report also said that the video game sector has huge potential for growth but needs support.
Video Game Studios Should Pay More Attention To Buyers' Rights
The report calls for agreed rules to give parents good control over what games their children play and how much time and money they spend playing. MEPs are calling for clearer info on content, in-game purchase policies, and the target age group of games. Plus, game developers should avoid creating addictive games and consider the age, and rights of children.
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Besides this, video game developers should not offer so-called “gold mining” practices. This term refers to selling items obtained in the game for real money. It can be related to financial crimes and violate human rights
The EP members want the EC to analyze the impact of loot boxes. These are features in video games that can be accessed during gameplay or can be paid for with real money. In other words, they are “mystery packs” that contain various items. So players don't know what they're getting until they open it. For instance, it can be a new look for the avatar and items that affect the gameplay (such as tools, weapons, levels, maps, etc.).
Not in vain, EP is fighting against loot boxes. For instance, in 2018, the European video game market brought 21 billion euros. It had a growth rate of 15% year-on-year. 34% of turnover is the result of in-app purchases and paid programs that also include loot boxes. The latter raises potential buyer protection issues. Due to the random reward mechanisms, loot boxes are very similar to gambling.