Twenty European consumer protection groups across 18 countries have voiced their support for loot box regulations following a report published by the Norwegian Consumer Council.
The report examines the impact of loot boxes on the games industry and finds the practice has evolved to "exploit consumers," using "deceptive design" to "exploit cognitive or behavioral biases to incentivize spending." The report also deems the manner in which games advertise the possible rewards from loot boxes deceptive.
FIFA 22 and Raid: Shadow Legends were the two case studies that formed the basis of the report. Its authors call for the following regulations around loot boxes:
- Banning "deceptive design" as defined by the report
- Listing all in-game purchase prices in real-world currency, rather than in-game currency
- Banning loot boxes from games aimed at minors
- More transparency around the algorithms dictating loot box payouts
- More enforcement around consumer rights in games generally
The report underlines that if these regulations don't help, a hardline, across-the-board loot box ban should be implemented.
Loot boxes have been under intense scrutiny for years now. The Belgian Gaming Commission ruled them in violation of gambling laws in the country in 2018, and the Netherlands has ruled that loot boxes are only legal if they follow certain criteria.
Blizzard has opted not to release Diablo Immortal, a loot box-focused mobile game, in either country in light of those regulations. It's also stopped sales of loot boxes in Belgium, as have Nintendo and Konami.