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IGDA calls on the game development industry to tackle loot boxes together

The International Game Developers Association has called on the game industry to take action in light of the increasing scrutiny of loot boxes. Earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission agreed to investigate the impact of loot boxes, and several countries have started to investigate and, in some cases, impose restrictions on them. 

In a blog post, IGDA executive director Jen MacLean said that it should be a “clear wake-up call to the game development industry that we must address how we use loot boxes, especially when they’re in games played by children”.

MacLean listed actions that she believes need to be taken “as an industry and community” immediately, including committing to not marketing loot boxes to children, disclosing the odds of different items appearing when a loot box is purchase and an educational campaign for parents. 

“By not taking significant action as an industry and global game developer community to self-regulate how loot boxes are used, we run the very real risk that governments around the world will take that action for us, and perhaps create significantly restrictive laws that could impact any random reward elements in games,” she said. “I offer my strongest advice to game developers and interactive entertainment businesses on this matter: addressing how loot boxes are used is both the right thing, and the smart thing, for the global game development industry to do.”

As more governments and organisations start to weigh in, the debate over loot boxes becomes increasingly complicated, but here’s the legal status of loot boxes around the world for the time being.

Fraser Brown

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long. He thinks labradoodles are the best dogs but doesn't get to write about them much.