The phenomenon of micro-transactions in video games is at the center of attention of the regulator of online games in France. After a year in 2017 when the phenomenon has grown, the ARJEL has decided to make a point on the famous Loot Boxes and overall on the principle of free games with pay options.
Loot Boxes in a game = gambling?
ARJEL is the gendarme of online games and its mission is to regulate the activities of sports betting, horse betting and online poker. The organization admits that the subject of Loot Boxes needs to be dug. Technically, paying for improvement in a game (which is basically free) could categorize the game as “gambling”.
In reality, the presence of these paid options in many games are not new. It’s been years that mobile games are subject to this type of operation. The application is free for those who download it but the player can decide at any time to buy features, options to improve his account, his progress in the game.
While most gamblers who spend on this type of game are still moderate in their investments, some are struggling to self-manage – as in the case of classic gambling – and manage to spend their fortunes to the point of putting themselves at risk. Financially. It has happened that such people are minors.
The ARJEL, which remains inactive (in fact) in the face of this phenomenon, still admits being concerned : ” The practice of micro-transactions within a game, whether paid or free, was well present for some years and already raised some concern and vigilance on the part of regulators and in particular the ARJEL. ”
For the moment, the authority has not been clear about its involvement on this topic in the future. The regulator admits that the subject is important but that it must be discussed, including through a symposium on the concept of gambling. A symposium will be organized in February-March 2019 in Bordeaux. In other words, nothing has been done and nothing will be done until 2019-2020. As always with this kind of administration, patience is needed…