The Children’s Commissioner for England has published a new report that makes a recommendation regarding online games, in particular, that loot boxes should be classified as gambling, and that a daily spending limit is imposed for children across all games that feature microtransactions.
The report, titled Gaming the System, was compiled after speaking to children aged between ten and sixteen, asking them a variety of questions about “what they love and what they dislike about gaming and how gaming could be improved for them.” This all comes from the realisation that despite gaming being a colossal juggernaut both economically and socially, it goes largely ignored by parents and politicians.
The report focused on how children are pressured to spend money in games such as Fortnite, either by peer pressure or by influencers. For example, Nina aged ten stated: “If you’re a default skin, people think you’re trash.”
The report also delves into children feeling addicted to both gaming and microtransactions. Nick, aged sixteen, had this to say: “You feel like it’s a waste of money… and then you open more.”
The report makes several recommendations, which can be read in full on the report itself, but the summary goes as follows: The role of money should be limited, children should be assisted in managing their time, doing more to ensure age-appropriate content is actually age-appropriate, and educating children on how to be digital citizens.
This all comes a couple of months after the UK Gambling Commission decided not to classify loot boxes as gambling, we have yet to see how these recommendations will clash and what action, if any, will result from the Children’s Commissioner’s office. Either way, we’ll be keeping a close eye on this story as it develops over the coming months.