Loot boxes are under attack again—this time by the U.K. House of Lords. The second chamber of British parliament has called for an immediate reclassification of loot boxes as gambling . It’s a massive blow to games like NBA 2K20.
If the change goes through, games featuring loot boxes could fall under the same laws as slot machines and betting.
Soon, loot boxes might be practically dead in the U.K., and that would be fantastic.
If loot boxes are classified as gambling, then any game that includes them must have an 18-plus age limit. That’s if they follow the same laws as other forms of gambling in the U.K.
This would cripple games like NBA 2K20 that are filled with loot boxes. The game has sold over 8 million units since launch. If the change happens, it’ll either have to remove these mechanics or reclassify the game for older crowds.
Then again, NBA 2K20 is a game that fully embraces the ‘not-technically-gambling’ status of loot boxes. The game features three activities that are pretty close to gambling: a pachinko-style pegboard, spinning wheels, and slot machines.
That’s hard to defend as ‘not gambling.’
Admittedly, this situation will be a significant financial blow to many companies. Revenue from loot boxes is sky-high . I think these companies deserve to have the clamps come down.
You cannot look at the literal slot machine in NBA 2K20 and tell me it isn’t gambling. You’ll find similar ‘games’ up and down the country in adult-only establishments and the corner of bars.
I’m not the only one who thinks so. Public opinion on the move seems highly tipped in favor of loot boxes being gambling . There is something especially heinous about them when they’re in games rated 3+ like NBA 2K20.
This isn’t the first time that the question of loot boxes being gambling has come up. Early in June, the government promised a call to evidence that loot boxes constituted gambling . Since then, we haven’t gotten a date for the call to evidence to start.
The House of Lords’ new report says quick action on the matter is crucial. For too long, game developers have been able to sell gambling to children and young teenagers. Games like NBA 2K20 show how serious the problem is.
When a game’s trailer features more footage of gambling-like mechanics than of the gameplay, then you know there’s a problem. If NBA 2K20, and games like it, can’t survive without gambling mechanics, then there’s something wrong with those games.