From January 1, 2023, the German age classification authority for video games, Entertainment Software Self-Control (USK), will check whether a game includes loot boxes in its age classification system.
The panel issued one last week Memory that new rules for the age rating system for video games will apply from January 1st. It was specifically noted that this system now includes “loot boxes” – where a player uses in-game credits to purchase a random chance to win an in-game item – as a factor in age rating.
“In the future, in addition to content relevant to the protection of minors, possible online risks – such as purchasing or communication options – can also be taken into account when determining legal age,” the committee said. “Specifically, the independent USK committees can now examine in individual cases whether any usage functions could pose an increased risk for children and young people, for example in connection with in-game chats or unwanted expenses.”
The new rules themselves state that a higher age rating for a game would be appropriate if a product would “interfere with or jeopardize” a young person’s relationship with gambling, “promote gambling, contribute to desensitization to gambling losses, or create unrealistic product expectations.” . “.
Loot boxes elsewhere
Loot boxes are causing controversy across Europe.
The products have been banned in Belgium since 2018. The Netherlands tried to ban the feature, but a court ultimately overturned that ban. Spain considered banning loot boxes entirely, but instead decided to ban them only for minors.