• RFMLR

REGULATING THE TREND OF LOOT-BOXES AND MICROTRANSACTIONS

Updated: Apr 23

This post is the winning entry in the RFMLR RGNUL Freshers' Article Writing Competition, 2020, submitted by Kanav Aggarwal and Aditya Srivastava, first-year students at the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab.


Image Credits: Shutterstock

1. INTRODUCTION


From its commercial conception in a science fair in the 1950s, video games and gaming in general, have evolved from being primarily a source of entertainment to a multi-billion-dollar venture possessing immense potential. Evolving from arcade games to the personalised idea of multiplayer and console gaming, the scope of the gaming industry has witnessed exponential growth and it now boasts of a global presence.


The nature of games was such that it capitalized on the competition between players who could record their high scores and were propelled by the rush to see their names on top of the high-score lists. The adrenaline rush so achieved, was further exploited by the video-game designers to incorporate such mechanisms having the dual effect of monetization and increased engagement. The internet boom catalysed the gaming industry and recently, the advent of mobile gaming has made it an inalienable part of modern-age life. Paralleling the innovative and exponential growth in video games, the monetization of the medium has had significant leaps, enticing the players to spend more to satisfy the rush. Changing consumer habits coupled with the change in technology, monetizing standards, and methods have stayed ahead of the curve. Microtransactions and particularly loot boxes have in recent years gained immense traction as the question of their legality and the scope of their regulation looms heavy under the trail of data privacy and user control.