The U.K. Parliament’s House of Commons issued a press release on January 22nd, 2019 indicating that they were gathering feedback from gamers relating to the role video games, emerging technologies , and AR/VR play in society, asking if they are “harmful or helpful”.
The press release is available over on the official Parliament.uk website, where it states…
“Is gaming harmful or helpful to society? How does the design of a game keep you playing for longer? What help is needed for people who are concerned about the amount they are gaming? What responsibilities do games designers have to their players? Are young people disproportionately affected by the addictive qualities of games and apps? What makes the UK a world leader in gaming and VR/AR and how can the industry be supported? The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee needs gamers and young people to submit their views for a new inquiry they are running on immersive and addictive technologies. “
The rules for submission is that the evidence must be written, but no more than 3,000 words in length. Must be in Word format with little or no colors and no logos, and it must have numbered paragraphs so if they need to cite something specifically they know where to look.
Now there are two types of views on the matter.
First: there is a group that sees this as an opportunity to actually discuss important issues in the gaming industry like loot boxes and predatory microtransaction behavior. If you really want to talk about “child exploitation” (and it also conversely affects many adults, too) loot boxes should be at the top of the totem. There are plenty of studies, and lots of examples of loot box-style systems impacted consumers in negative ways to the benefit of publishers like some kind of unregulated casino.
Second: there is a group that sees this as dangerous. That the U.K. Parliament will stick their head where it doesn’t belong and enact more censorship, more standards, and more regulations where it doesn’t belong. They also believe that the U.K. Parliament will use this opportunity to enact more legislation that restricts and curtails the potential creative freedoms of developers, dampening the growth of the industry by compounding more rules on top of the already-stringent regulations being applied by companies like Sony.
There are also worries mounting on groups like the World Health Organization labeling video game addiction as a disease. According to MCVUK, the Entertainment Software Association met with WHO to discuss the “gaming disorder” that was added to the 11th International Classification of Diseases.
Given that most governments can’t be trusted to do the right or work on behalf of the people, there are substantial worries that this may lead to more detrimental results than anything benefiting gamers.
(Thanks for the news tip Ebicentre)
(Main image courtesy of H20Delirious)