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UK Parliament Set to Investigate ‘Immersive and Addictive Impact’ Tech

- December 12, 2018 By Oliver Young -

It seems that all the warnings, restrictions, fees and taxes were not enough and that the battle against problem gambling is far from over in the UK. A new threat on online gambling operators and developers has recently appeared.

With both the public and the parliament closely focused on gambling following anti-gambling campaigns for gambling advertising bans, tax increases, updates for Alternative Dispute Resolution and the FOBTs stake cut, the UK parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has announced their aims to investigate the link between gambling and video gaming, or in their words ‘immersive and addictive impact technologies’.

UK parliament will investigate the link between addictive gambling and immersive gaming.

UK parliament will investigate the link between addictive gambling and immersive gaming.

What Did the Committee Say?

Damian Collins, the Chair of the Committee in question stated that the committee has heard the public concerns about the impact of these games to society repeatedly, regarding the increasing amount of time people in general spend immersed in virtual worlds. Their interest is to investigate the potentially addictive nature of gaming and social media.

Their main objective is exploring these concerns and consider what the proper response should be in setting public policy in near future. They will also consider how the online data of individuals is used by these immersive technologies and what, if any, security is offered.

Collins added that they see and are aware of industries emerging from this, offering enormous potential for growth, such as eSports and online gaming where the UK is regarded as the leader in the production. The committee will, therefore, be looking at what action is needed so that the UK remains a key player. Since technology like augmented reality and virtual reality is an important asset to the movie industry, gaming and simulated training, the committee wants to understand more about it and its potential, but most importantly about the future impact it could have on society.

How Will This Happen?

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee will begin an inquiry which will study everything from eSports’ growth, the use of loot boxes, the use of different skins in video games, up to the advancements in augmented and virtual reality. They will particularly investigate the impact on the lives of people, the impact of the growing digitisation, computer and gamification promotions and products and whether there are current regulations which are strong enough to protect players’ lives and their rights.

According to the anti-gambling campaigners, the loot boxes are the ones to blame. Many games, whose main audience and players are children, offer random in-game rewards, upgrades and bonuses to the players to be purchased with real money. Collins states the investigation is intended to outline regulations that could actually protect children, and people in general, from the negative effects associated with the loot boxed offerings in video games, and gambling. Since the main audience of such video games consists of youngsters, Collins says an investigation is paramount.

All interested parties that will participate will need to make submissions and apply before 14th of January, 2019. The Committee has already sent invitations to these parties.

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