Loot Boxes Are Setting Kids Up For Gambling Addiction, Says NHS Chief
For better or for worse, microtransactions have taken root in modern gaming. All the while, the effects of earning currencies for randomized rewards have been widely talked about in recent years, with significant research going into studying the effects of loot boxes–especially when it comes to children. England’s National Health Service mental health director Claire Murdoch has now shared her opinion on the matter, concluding that loot boxes encourage gambling addiction in children.
Murdoch recently sent forth a statement calling for action against loot boxes and other video game microtransactions, claiming that they are “setting kids up for addiction by teaching them to gamble.” The mental health director additionally called for video game companies to ban loot boxes from their products, stating that “no firm should sell to children loot box games with this element of chance” and that “those sales should end.”
Frankly no company should be setting kids up for addiction by teaching them to gamble on the content of these loot boxes. No firm should sell to children loot box games with this element of chance, so yes those sales should end.”
In response to growing concerns about gambling addiction and loot boxes, the NHS has confirmed the opening of a new treatment clinic running designed to address mental illness linked to addiction. As covered in the statement, the new clinic opens alongside up to 14 others nationwide as part of a 5-year plan aimed at improving mental health for children and adults alike.
Young people’s health is at stake, and although the NHS is stepping up with these new, innovative services available to families through our Long Term Plan, we cannot do this alone, so other parts of society must do what they can to limit risks and safeguard children’s wellbeing.”
Murdoch’s statement is just the latest argument about the ethics of loot boxes. Electronic Arts memorably argued in favor of loot boxes last June to the UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, calling the idea of randomized purchases “quite ethical” and “fun,” referring to them as “surprise mechanics.” With such differing stances on the possibility of gambling addiction in kids, the debate is likely to continue as companies, regulators, and gamers struggle to find the placement of loot boxes in games.
Let us know your thoughts on the National Health Services’ stance on the link between microtransactions and loot boxes in the comments section below. As always don’t forget to follow Don’t Feed the Gamers on Twitter for 24/7 coverage of all things gaming and entertainment.
Chris Calles1183 Posts
Known as "Stash" or Yippee Calles. He's a student of everything, avid adrenaline junkie, and creator of random things. When he's not delving into a game, book, or movie - He's out teaching himself new things or taking part in some pretty epic adventures. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.