UK government digging deeper into loot boxes, more

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How’s it going everybody, Adrian Simple here from The Gaming Observer and this is your daily gaming update for Tuesday, June 9th. Today was a bit of a slow day for news, but that isn’t going to last for long, considering all of the digital events we have coming up in the next few weeks. Either way, let’s get into it.

The UK government officially has their eye on loot boxes once again. This will be handled by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, who will be deciding whether or not to classify loot boxes as gambling. Currently in the UK, loot boxes do not fall under the regulations of the gambling commission, but there are places elsewhere in the world that it does, like Belgium and the Netherlands. Now for the most part companies don’t care so much about those countries, they’ll either change their systems in those countries or outright not sell the game alltogether, because it doesn’t affect their bottom line all that much. The UK on the other hand is a much bigger deal, especially with games like FIFA from EA Sports. If that game gets regulated under the gambling commission, which honestly appears to be a likely outcome, then the game either needs to have 18 age rating, or change how they monetize their game. You know this is a tricky one because if loot boxes are considered gambling, it might also have implications on what gambling means in general. The reason why it hasn’t yet been considered gambling is because the things that won are not considered to have monetary value, because it’s a digital thing. Now obviously we all know that that’s pretty much a loophole, third-party websites exist to sell those things, and developers are profiting from those who have gambling addictions. So this may just bring about a lot more reform across the whole system. I mentioned earlier that this is probably going to happen, and there’s a lot of reasons for that, but one of them is that game developers are actually not all that cooperative with the government. Epic Games and EA had a public meeting with a UK committee last year, and it did not go well. They were closed off, argumentative, and overall just not helpful. It’s actually where the meme comes from of EA calling their loot boxes “surprise mechanics.” Anyway, we’ll see how this plays out over the next little while, I’ll keep you updated.

Speaking of EA, Need For Speed Heat is going to be the first game that they own which gets crossplay. All you have to do is install the final update for the game, and then you can play across Origin, Steam, Playstation and Xbox. I like to mention stuff like this when it comes up because I think it’s a great opportunity for you to connect with friends on different platforms. Hopefully we see more of this from EA. Apparently the next Need for Speed game is in the works, so you can look forward to that as well.

Some of you may know about the turbulent development of Dead Island 2. It started under the development of Yager, published by Deep Silver. Two years in, they announced it at E3, and one year after that, they threw it out the window and started again with another developer, Sumo Digital. Then Sumo didn’t work out, and now its being worked on by Dambuster Studios. Well, a playable build of the game has just gotten leaked. It’s from June 2015, which was one month before they changed developers for the first time. I’ve taken a look at the footage and it actually did look pretty far into development. So anyway if that’s something that interests you, you can check out the videos or even possibly play it yourself. I am looking forward to seeing how that one eventually turns out though.