Loot Boxes in Video Games

Lord Greenhalgh Excerpts
Wednesday 13th December 2023

(4 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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Yes, we are committed to ensuring that video games can be enjoyed safely and responsibly by everyone. To support that, we are working closely with the Games Rating Authority, which ensures that all games are appropriately rated. That includes information for those who buy them on what they can expect from their purchases. We have also, as I say, developed and published the video games research framework to support high-quality, independent research into games, and that is an important tool to augment our understanding of the impact of playing video games.

Lord Greenhalgh Portrait Lord Greenhalgh (Con)
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My Lords, sadly I do not have any relevant interests to declare in the way that my noble friend Lord Vaizey of Didcot has. He is right about the importance of the video game industry but, as a parent of three children, I am pleased that the noble Lord, Lord Foster, has raised this issue, because my son, at not much more than 10 years of age, suddenly spent several hundred pounds on a video game precisely because of this sort of entrapment. We need to keep a weather-eye on this. I encourage the Government to realise that when your child plays a video game, you expect them to play a video game, and when they gamble, you expect them to gamble. At the moment, the lines are too blurred.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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I point my noble friend to the response the Government issued to the extensive call for evidence on loot boxes. We were very clear that loot boxes should not be purchased by children unless enabled by a parent or guardian; that all players should have access to spending controls and transparent information about what to expect; and that better evidence and research should be developed to inform future policy-making. We are taking all those steps forward as we look to see the industry implementing the guidance over the next 12 months.