French senator Jérôme Durain has expressed concern about the growing trend of loot boxes and microtransactions in video games. Concerning this issue, he had sent a letter to the President of ARJEL (France’s online gambling regulator).
In the message, Durain began by praising the cultural diversity and growing influence of video games, as well as the growth of the eSports industry. In his letter – translated on Reddit – in turn, he referred to the loot boxes of Star Wars Battlefront II.
“While I do not think it is necessary at this stage to put in place specific legislation, I wonder about the desirability of providing consumer protection in this area. The use of loot boxes conferring cosmetic additions to the games seems well-accepted by the public. The development of so-called pay-to-win practices is more contentious, as shown by the recent controversy over the game Star Wars Battlefront 2. Quite aside from the acceptance of the practice, some observers point to a convergence of the video game world and practices specific to gambling.”
In this sense, Durain proposed adopting measures similar to those that already exist in countries such as China, which is committed to transparency in the ratios of the results of the savings banks.
“Transparency is not common with regard to statistics governing loot boxes, even though good practices sometimes exist. China has decided in favor of a transparency of win ratios. Some of our European neighbors (the United Kingdom and Belgium in particular) are looking into the matter through their regulatory authorities. So we see that the question is not unique to France. Does ARJEL have the infrastructure necessary for a general census of win ratios for microtransactions?”
The French senator is waiting to receive a response from ARJEL.