Games News

Sweden might introduce a ban on loot boxes by 2019

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Star Wars: Battlefront 2 loot crate
Star Wars: Battlefront 2 - loot Crait

Sweden has joined the legislative battle against loot boxes. The minister of civil affairs, Ardalan Shekarabi, suggested the mechanic could be banned by 2019. A study from the University of Hamburg prompted the German Youth Protection Commission to also take action.

After Hawaii and Belgium, Sweden is the next country to take up arms against loot boxes and the type of gambling they encourage. It is the latest country to weigh in on the issue after the minister of civil affairs, Ardalan Shekarabi, suggested the mechanic could be banned by 2019.

The news was reported by Swedish P3 news and translated by Google Translate. The Swedish government is working on a review of their gaming legislation in the national gaming market. Any new legislation will come into force by January 2019.

P3 news[undefined]The Swedish minister of civil affairs, Ardalan Shekarabi

As it stands right now, foreign players in the Swedish gaming market are not covered by Swedish legislation. Same goes for in-game lotteries, but this could change in the near future.

The minister of civil affairs, Ardalan Shekarabi told P3 News: "We are working to regain control of the gaming market as soon as possible and ensure that Swedish consumer protection rules apply to all actors involved in gaming,"

Mr Shekarabi added: "I am ready to ask our authorities to take a closer look at the phenomenon of loot boxes in the next step and see if there is a need to change legislation in order to strengthen consumer protection."

Blizzard[undefined]Overwatch - Loot Box

Earlier this week, the German Youth Protection Commission also announced that it was investigating loot boxes. The investigation was a result of a study from the University of Hamburg which found an increasing number of games featured "elements of gambling".

Researchers analysed business models and industry sales, concluding that a small percentage of players are responsible for the majority of the revenue. These players are also known as "whales" and this is a "a typical feature of gambling markets."

It is worth noting that some industry heavy weights including DICE are based in Sweden. It is unclear whether the upcoming legislative scuffle will affect these businesses in a more direct manner.

Wolfgang Kreißig, chairman of the Youth Protection Commission, said it was "conceivable" that loot boxes violate existing regulation put in place to protect children and adolescents. As a result, publishers could face a blanket ban on releasing games that feature loot boxes. A decision is due in March 2018.