ESA, TIGA And PEGI Weigh In On UK DCMS Report

ESA & PEGI "strongly disagrees" with UK DCMS loot box report

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ESA, TIGA And PEGI Weigh In On UK DCMS Report

ESA, TIGA And PEGI Weigh In On UK DCMS Report

Trade bodies TIGA, from the UK, and the American Entertainment Software Association (ESA), as well as European age-ratings organization PEGI, have replied to the report released yesterday by the UK’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

When the UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee concluded its loot box investigation by recommending (among other things) that loot box sales to children should be banned, trade groups TIGA and PEGI were careful not to contradict the committee too directly. Over in the US, the Entertainment Software Association took a different approach.

A representative with the ESA said:

“We take seriously the issues raised in the UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee report, but strongly disagree with its findings,”

And Continues:

“As demonstrated by the recent announcement of policies regarding the disclosure of the relative rarity or probability of obtaining virtual items in paid loot boxes as well as the robust parental controls that empower parents to control in-game purchases, the video game industry is a leader in partnering with parents and players to create enjoyable video game experiences. In addition, numerous regulatory bodies around the world, including those in Australia, France, Ireland, Germany, and the UK, have come to a conclusion starkly different than that of this committee.”

“As demonstrated by the recent announcement of policies regarding the disclosure of the relative rarity or probability of obtaining virtual items in paid loot boxes as well as the robust parental controls that empower parents to control in-game purchases, the video game industry is a leader in partnering with parents and players to create enjoyable video game experiences. In addition, numerous regulatory bodies around the world, including those in Australia, France, Ireland, Germany, and the UK, have come to a conclusion starkly different than that of this committee.”

The CEO of TIGA Dr Richard Wilson agreed with MPs’ suggestion that there should be further research conducted into both gaming disorder and whether loot boxes do indeed constitute gambling. Wilson goes on to say that such research should not be funded by the games industry, with the Government picking up the bill.

“TIGA agrees with the Committee that research into gaming disorder is scarce and more, high-quality studies are required to fully understand the condition,”

he said, and continues:

“We also agree that the Government should commission further research into gaming disorder and to ascertain appropriate time limits for playing games. At present, this is unclear. The Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health suggests that it is ‘impossible’ to recommend age-appropriate time limits, instead urging parents to ‘approach screen time based on the child’s development age [and] individual need.”

“To ensure impartiality of research, any studies into gaming disorder should be funded by government and not industry.”

Meanwhile, European age-ratings body PEGI has said that it is working with the relevant authorities to find solutions to the points raised by DCMS’ report.

“PEGI is currently reviewing the various recommendations in the report and discussing the practical implications of these recommendations,”

the organisation said.

“We are committed to remain a trusted source of information for parents and consumers regarding the content of video games. There is already a lot of debate ongoing about the concerns that are raised in the report and we will continue to work with the authorities to find appropriate solutions to ensure that gamers of all ages can play in a safe and responsible environment.”

The announcement of policies the ESA statement references was made last month during the Federal Trade Commission’s day-long workshop on consumer issues surrounding loot boxes. Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony all committed to mandate loot box odds disclosures on their platforms by the end of 2020. (Apple and Google already mandate such disclosures on the App Store and Google Play store; there are no known requirements to disclose odds for loot boxes in PC games on Steam.)

Read Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS)Full Report Here