UK games industry body lays out principles for loot boxes in video games

UK games industry body Ukie has revealed new plans to control the spread of loot boxes in games.
loot boxes ukie uk

UK games industry body Ukie has published a set of principles determining best practice for implementing paid loot boxes in games, in an attempt to inspire industry-wide change. It follows recent calls from the UK government for the games industry to ‘self-regulate’ loot boxes, and protect younger players.

The newly-established principles were developed alongside the Technical Working Group, as convened by the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport. They recommend a number of changes for the UK games industry, with the underlying goal of improving protections for all players, and ensuring ‘the industry’s commitment to safe and responsible play.’

While there are 11 individual principles outlined, the vast majority are designed to drive awareness of loot boxes, and to ensure children are not exposed to gambling-like habits from an early age. Ukie will work alongside the local UK games industry to implement changes, and to initiate awareness campaigns for the wider industry.

Read: Australian committee recommends action on loot boxes

As part of this new guidance, Ukie will also lobby for better probability disclosures on games that include loot boxes, as well as better refund procedures for the industry, and support new research into video games and loot boxes.

‘Publishing these shared Principles for how the industry approaches loot boxes is a UK first and provides us with a clear direction moving forwards,’ Daniel Wood, co-CEO of Ukie said of the initiative. ‘The Principles will improve protections for all players and underlines the industry’s commitment to safe and responsible play. We look forward to working collaboratively across industry and with others to implement them over the coming months.’

Notably, the principles laid out by Ukie are not legally binding, as the UK government has seemingly taken a hands-off approach to regulation of loot boxes. Ukie’s principles will be reviewed on a yearly basis for ensure their effectiveness, but they are not strictly legally-binding. Whether they will have the desired impact on the UK games industry remains to be seen.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.