Ex-UKIE chair Stuart Dinsey calls for companies to self-regulate loot boxes

The gaming industry could face stringent regulation if bigger companies don't self-regulate loot boxes

Former UKIE board chair Stuart Dinsey has stated that the gaming industry must properly self-regulate loot boxes, or face wider government action.

As the UK government continues its enquiry into loot boxes – and whether they should be regulated as part of gambling laws – Dinsey has used Twitter to warn that the “final outcome is supposedly down to us as an industry”.

Loot boxes are digital in-game items that, upon purchase, offer a random item. This can range from playable characters to skins for clothes, weapons and more. What buyers receive from each box is entirely randomised, meaning consumers could often face purchasing a significant amount of these to try and get the item they’re looking for.

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Dinsey said that while the gaming industry will either need to place “acceptable” levels of self-regulation upon these loot boxes or face “enforced government action” that will even affect studios that do not offer loot boxes in their games. Dinsey stated that the overall result will most likely come down to “the promised actions – or inaction – of the global giants who have had a hugely profitable business model rightly challenged”.

Dinsey feels that while he is “fine with transparent in-game purchases”, he is uncomfortable with the practice of loot boxes. Overall, Dinsey wants the issue to be resolved “with common sense and consumer protections improved”.

Dinsey chaired UKIE, the gaming industry trade body, until stepping down last week. The current chair for UKIE is Tim Woodley, the head of publishing at Hello Games.

NME has reached out to Dinsey for further comment.

Last Friday (September 17), it was reported that Fifa Ultimate Team in Fifa 2022 will still include loot boxes. However, it will likely include preview packs that let buyers see what items are within.

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Back in April, a report by researchers at Plymouth and Wolverhampton universities found that loot boxes are “structurally and psychologically akin to gambling”.

In other news, EA has acquired Playdemic – the studio behind Golf Clash – for a cash deal totalling over £1billion.

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