Last year was seen by many as the year of the loot box. With the debacle that was Star Wars Battlefront II and its implementation of loot boxes gaining such publicity the question of whether they are appropriate was brought to the attention of politicians. The latest country to start evaluating this new microtransaction economy is Germany whose Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz der Landesmedienanstalten (Commission for Youth Media Protection of the State Media Authorities) is considering banning the practice after a study by the University of Hamburg. The chairman of the commission, Wolfgang Kreißig, has suggested that because video games can be aimed at children and adolescents, loot boxes may break German laws.
Any kind of legislation that could evolve from this scenario could have ramifications for the whole gaming industry. It will take a long time for any new laws to be passed so don’t expect this situation to anytime soon. Of course, the purveyors of a multi-billion dollar industry are not going to sit idly by as someone tries to take away their latest cash cow. You can expect some major lobbying to be done in favour of loot boxes or self-regulation but anything that stops, or at the very least improves, this predatory practice should be welcomed.