Spain will ban loot boxes for minors

España prohibirá las cajas de botín a los menores

Loot boxes, lootboxes, gachapon or gacha games… the gaming industry has evolved substantially in the last ten years, and if in some aspects it has been for the better, in others, unfortunately, the trend has been just the opposite. And the billing model is by far the clearest example of this. We have gone from a fixed price for a game, which in any case could be increased by some expansion, to a model in which it is necessary to checkout for practically everything.

First there were the DLCs, then the stores within the games arrived and, more or less at the same time, the season passes for the games, and the most recent, although it has been with us for a long time, are the loot boxes or lootboxes in English , a commercial model that has managed to make us look favorably on stores in games, since in these you could at least buy what you wanted, instead of having to risk your money in a system modeled on that of the slot machine.

In case you don’t know it, the loot box model consists of selling chests, boxes, envelopes or any other format (always digital, of course) that can contain a large number of different items, among which we can find some highly coveted ones in the game. From soccer players in FIFA to weapons in Counter Strike: Global Offensive. Do you want to get the best player for your team? Obtain the ultimate weapon? Well, “just” you have to buy loot boxes and cross your fingers, hope you’re lucky.

You can imagine, of course, that there is an inversely proportional relationship between the interest aroused by each item and the chances of obtaining it. A model, again, similar to that of bar slots, in which nothing is left to chance. A system to prevent you from buying, for two or three euros, a weapon that can lead you to spend tens or even hundreds of euros to try to get it in the loot boxes. Sounds nauseating, right? Well indeed, it is.

We already told you about the loot boxes a few weeks ago, when we finally some regulators decided enough was enough, that it was essential to start imposing severe regulations on this despicable technique, aimed at exploiting the weaknesses of users who, once hooked on the games, can spend real fortunes to get the desired reward. And this is not theory, there have already been many cases in this regard, of people ruined because of loot boxes.

Thus, today we have received sensational news, which is that, according to reports ElDiariothe Spanish executive is already working on a law to regulate loot boxes that will prohibit access to them to those under 18 years of age. To limit access, the bill, which is in the process of public hearing until July 23, suggests that accreditation by DNI is necessaryand may be complemented with biometric identification systems, not with biomarkers, as we can read in a large number of media.

The limitation of access to minors to the loot boxes is included in chapter II, article 6, of the draft:

Chapter II

Protection measures for users of random reward mechanisms.

Article 6. Prohibition of the use of random reward mechanisms for minors.

1. Access to random reward mechanisms or their activation by

2. In order to guarantee the effectiveness of this prohibition, the entities that exploit or market random reward mechanisms must enable a documentary verification system of the identity of the participants. This verification system may complemented, always on a voluntary basis for these entities, with a biometric identification system.

Access to the random reward mechanisms or their activation by the user may not be carried out until their identity has been verified in the terms provided in this section.

3. In the exercise of its powers of inspection, the General Directorate for the Regulation of Gambling may require the data relating to the identity verifications carried out by virtue of the provisions of this article.

4. The verification of the identity of the participants will be carried out in full compliance with the provisions of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of April 27, 2016, regarding the protection of natural persons in regarding the processing of personal data and the free circulation of these data and by which Directive 95/46/CE is repealed, in Organic Law 3/2018, of December 5, on the Protection of Personal Data and guarantee of digital rights, and in its development regulations.

5. Entities that exploit or market random reward mechanisms must enable parental control mechanisms that make it possible to completely exclude, and for any type of device, the purchase or use of this type of mechanism.

(You can consult the complete draft in this link.)

From this point on, the key to determining the success or failure of this measure lies fundamentally in the efficiency and reliability of the validation systems used by developers to limit access to loot boxes in your games. In this regard, what we can read in point 3 of article 6 is very important, that is, that the Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling may actively supervise the verification processes carried out to prevent access by minors. to loot boxes.

Personally, I recognize that I would go a step further, and that is that in point 2, would establish as mandatory the use of biometric identification systems (or alternatives such as MFA access) to validate each purchase operation. However, this seems to me to be a very important move in the right direction and, therefore, I hope that the processing of this law (preliminary draft for now) will be as fast as possible, and that in this way access to the savings banks loot by minors is no longer possible and therefore a problem.

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