In a segment on Swedish Radio P3 News this morning talking about FIFA Ultimate Team, Swedish minister for public administration Ardalan Shekarabi hinted that loot boxes are being considered as gambling in Sweden. This comes in the same week as German regulators begin considerations on how to classify loot boxes.
Sweden is working on regulations that may take effect as soon as January 2019 in order to reign in gaming and its dependence on loot boxes as monetization mechanic. FIFA Packs and other gambling mechanics bring in billions of dollars in revenue for major games. Overwatch alone has made more than $1 billion for Blizzard. FIFA UT mechanics bring in $800 million annually for EA.
The radio report discussed the ongoing issues of loot boxes, focusing on the impact that the predatory mechanics are having on Swedish youth. Shekarabi says, “I am prepared to ask our authorities to take a closer look into the phenomena of loot boxes to examine whether there is a need for change in legislation, with the purpose of strengthening the protection of customers. I don’t want to rule out the possibility. First of all. I want to ask our authorities and experts to examine this. It is obvious that there are many people suffering from gambling addiction, who also get stuck in this type of gambling and lose money because of it.”
It’s not going to be an easy year for the more predatory developers and publishers as the anti-gambling train gains more steam through regulation.