The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to support adopting a report that calls for updated, consistent rules across Europe that apply to gaming and could lead to regulatory action on things like lootboxes and gold farming.
The report itself features over a dozen recommendations (thanks GamesIndustry.biz, where you can read the full list) for those consistent and harmonized rules across the European Union markets, including to make games content clear, and a series of ways to help parents understand and also control the time and money that their kids spend gaming. It also encourages use of the PEGI rating system used in Europe. Currently, only some countries legally require ratings on games. Proposals would create common labels for information on game content that would be used throughout the EU.
They also voted to have the commission start looking at the impact of loot boxes, as well as sales and marketing tactics for in-game purchases. This will accompany an investigation into gold farming and potential connections to financial crimes, and possibly trafficking or human rights issues and violations. Special attention for games that feature user-generated content is also included, “in order to protect users, especially minors, from illegal practices”.
Some countries in Europe already have regulations that work to counter loot boxes and have demonstrably limited their sales in certain countries. Games like Diablo Immortal didn't launch in a few European countries due to anti loot box laws. While this isn't exactly legislation, the investigation will look into these and could come out with a stronger protection or regulation call.
With the World Health Organization recognizing “gaming disorder” as an addictive condition, the report uses this detail to also call for action. It also calls on devs to not create addictive content, but makes room for parental tools in light of all of this as well.
There are some positives in the report, including recognition of some of the positives in the gaming industry, and its value on multiple fronts. Also adopted proposals to encourage and support more diverse hiring within the industry and initiatives that improve accessibility.