The German government has passed a law which means that if a game has loot boxes, they should be taken into consideration when this game is in progress given an age rating This could be a stumbling block for companies like EA, whose live service games often contain loot boxes. The law must now be adopted by the Federal Council, what she should be doing this spring
According to GamesLaworg, german games (as well as other media) No longer will simply be rated on content Instead, the evaluations will take into account the interactive elements and the games to be «risky mechanisms». These include “game mechanics”, into which the loot boxes would fall, as well as the collection of data on the users and the exhortations to buy other contents or supports not adapted to their age These elements would then contribute to the decision concerning the classification of age to be assigned to a game, with a higher age classification possible if several «risk mechanisms» are found.
Note that if a game falls into one of these categories, this does not automatically mean a higher age classification. Lawyer Felix Hilgert says new German law requires creators to include “content descriptors” similar to those used by rating committees such as PEGI and ESRB. If content descriptors are present, increasing the age rating of a game would be “considered an exceptional measure”, which means that the age classification would probably stay the same. While that doesn't mean the end of loot boxes in any way., it is certainly a blow for publishers to include them in the games without warning.
According to the legislation itself (which is entirely in german, but we used machine translation to translate it), loot boxes have repeatedly “is the subject of criticism” from youth groups and consumer protection organizations. In a study, about 14% of young players have been victims of «cost traps, scams or fraud», so this is not something the German government wants to take lightly The new law is due to come into force in the spring, but it must be approved by the German second parliamentary chamber before it can be fully enshrined in law. However, Hilgert says he does not foresee any substantial changes to the amendment
This new German law comes against a backdrop of growing animosity towards loot boxes around the world Late last year, a British study found that more than one young player in 10 was in debt due to overspending on loot boxes. Capcom condemned the inclusion of loot boxes in games EA was heavily penalized by the Netherlands for including loot boxes in its games, and two players have filed a lawsuit against EA in Canada for «unjust enrichment» Arising from Loot Box Sale It's hard to imagine the landscape improving for loot boxes in the gaming world anytime soon
What do you think of this new German law? Let us know in the comments below!
Note – we originally wrote this story knowing that the German law in question would require games with loot boxes to be rated at 18 years or older. However, we now understand this is not the case and have rewritten history with a better understanding of the facts We apologize for any confusion caused
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– The German games with loot boxes Will be restricted to adults if the amendment is approved
– Germany: games with loot boxes will be rated with an age range of 18 years or older