Game companies should share data on loot boxes, academics tell Parliament

March 5, 2019
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Remember the Parliamentary inquiry on immersive and addictive technologies that opened last month? Well, things are moving quickly, and the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has already hosted three oral evidence sessions featuring a variety of gambling and technology experts.

Last Wednesday’s session focused on topics relating to game addiction and addictive mechanics in video games, such as the dreaded loot box. I watched the session in its entirety, and found the witnesses made a number of fascinating comments regarding game addiction and gambling mechanics in games. Among these include calls for the games industry to be more open with their data, and collaborate with researchers to ensure studies and regulations are fair.

A recurring theme throughout the session was that there simply isn’t enough research on video game addiction and addictive mechanics, and this is partly due to the lack of data available to researchers. As highlighted by Dr. David Zendle (York St. John University), there are actually only seven studies on the effect of loot boxes using empirical data, and he is the lead author of four of them.

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