"The addiction to video games maintained by algorithms deserves the attention of the legislator"

“The addiction to video games maintained by algorithms deserves the attention of the legislator”

” Oops ! You don’t have enough potion. To continue the game, buy a loot box and see what luck has in store for you! “The game now ends for you.” Try your luck and buy one loot box to earn extra lives! First cultural industry in France, video games unleash passions. Risks of addiction, disconnection with the real world, so many grievances often mentioned to demonize a captivating virtual world – for more than 3.2 billion players in the world.

The keys to success? The graphic and creative quality, the many cultural references, the multiple game options combined with remarkably well-crafted scenarios to increase the playful effect… and retain the players’ commitment. Not to mention the network effect which, as outside the world of gaming, results in keeping players connected.

First reserved for mobile video games, free for the player – at least as long as he wishes – a new tool called “loot box” has expanded into big budget games. A loot boxor “Loot Chest”, contains several virtual items akin to random rewards that can provide the player with upgrades, ranging from character customization to acquiring new, sometimes rare, options to advance in the game. Game.

Read also: “Loot boxes” in video games: where is their regulation in France?

At first glance, this is just a simple feature that should allow a player to maximize his gaming experience. But as soon as these loot boxes are chargeable, they ultimately turn out to be more problematic. Generating uncertain gains, based on chance, in return for a sum of money, loot boxes have the characteristics to be assimilated to paid online lotteries, prohibited in France (excluding Française des jeux). Because gambling and games of chance are regulated, in the real world as well as in the digital world, in order to stem the risks of addiction in particular – which is why games of chance are generally prohibited for minors in France.

In-app purchases in video games represent around 15 billion dollars in earnings (around 14.69 billion euros) for the industry (in 2020), and in France, 4.78 million players are minors. Given the extent of the phenomenon and since these in-app purchases produce random effects, like a lottery, should they be regulated or banned in France, like gambling and gambling in online in 2010?

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