germany, igaming, loot boxes, gambling, responsible gaming, igaming, video games,

Germany to add loot boxes to age-rating criteria in gaming

Loot boxes have long been a point of player and authority contention since their inception, and yet they’re not going away. Arguments around pay to win, random number generators, and whether it is legal gambling aimed at children, all rage on to this day. And now Germany has stepped into the ring.

As of January 1st 2023, the German video game age-rating authority, Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle, or USK, will add whether or not a game includes loot boxes as part of their age-rating system.

More than anything this really adds to the conversation around responsible gambling. If you consider loot boxes gambling, which many including the German authorities do, that concept should not be available to children. When loot boxes are commonly found in games like Fortnite and Overwatch, very much marketed to children, there is a problem.

The USK has now go a stance on that idea, saying: “In the future, in addition to content relevant to the protection of minors, possible online risks – such as purchasing or communication options – can also be taken into account in the process of statutory age marking,” the body said. “Specifically, the independent USK committees can now check in individual cases whether any usage functions could pose an increased risk for children and young people, for example in relation to chats in the game or unwanted expenses.”

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