In the European Parliament, the European Parliament calls for a European strategy for video games
One in two Europeans plays video games. But according to lawmakers, players should be better prepared for various types of abuse. In an initiative report adopted by 577 votes in favour, 56 against and 15 abstentions in a plenary session on Wednesday 18 January, they called on the European Commission (the body that proposes laws applicable to the whole of the Old Continent) to establish a “strategy of games videos”. And parliamentarians have a very precise idea of what this text should contain.
Better protect players
Their priority is to better protect players – both their mental health and their wallets. Europe’s elected representatives think that if they can have it “positive effect”video games, when abused, are risky“negative impact on social relationships, employment, dropout rates, physical and mental health, and academic achievement”. The European Parliament further demonstrated that “Video game addiction is a problem for some gamers”.
The European Parliament also raised the issue of these “loot boxes”, “loot boxes” or “surprise boxes” which, in many games, allow you to access higher levels, to be able to dress up your avatar in rare costumes (and thereby stand out from other players). or to win accessories that allow you to progress more easily in the game world. However, these “loot boxes” aren’t free: you have to buy them, and depending on Parliament, these aren’t “not without consequences for consumers”.
The option to ban loot boxes is on the table
The European Parliament insists that “These surprise box selling mechanisms are generally devised using a formula known as ‘user trap’, which can have negative psychological and financial consequences by triggering forced or compulsive buying, especially in minors and young children”and go further by mentioning option a “ban” pure and simple of this “loot box” at European level. Slovakia and the Netherlands have started to legislate in this area.
“Agencies want to avoid fragmentation of the European market. They will also have an interest in establishing a dialogue with video game developers and with the platforms that distribute them and call for self-regulation, so that games are available ethically and they are interested in designing games that Europeans love and that don’t have the effect of negative on them!” says Annette Cerulli-Harms, a Berlin-based video game specialist who works for ConPolicy, a consulting firm dealing with consumer-affecting policies.
“Companies and gaming platforms must also do more to ensure that children cannot make in-game purchases without parental consent.”explains French MEP Geoffroy Didier (Les Républicains).
Soon European prize for online video games?
In addition, again according to this European Parliament report, player data should be better protected, women should be more represented in the game (sector should “avoid objectifying women and avoid creating, repeating, or exacerbating gender stereotypes”keep MP), and canceling a game subscription is as easy as revoking it.
Therefore, the European Parliament asked the European Commission to address all these issues head-on in order to better support players, but also to provide a boost to innovation in the sector. Parliament launched the idea to create “annual European online video game awards”and more generally, he asks for a “A European video game strategy that will help this creative and cultural sector to express its full potential”.
It remains to be seen whether the MEP will be heard by the European Commission and in particular by its president, Ursula von der Leyen, who lives in an apartment within the institution itself. The story doesn’t say whether he had a console in his living room to fill in the down time between meetings.
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