In recent years, there has been a giant online gaming wave. You may have noticed that some of your friends have recently started playing games on their smartphones, or some of them have splashed out on the latest new-generation consoles (such as the PlayStation 5). The hype and craze around gaming have never been like this before, and it’s incredibly exciting to witness.
However, you might be surprised to learn that online gaming is a highly regulated industry. Yep, that’s right: there are lots of online gaming laws that both companies and consumers must follow! Of course, these laws change from country to country, as not everywhere is the same. It’s impossible to run through every gaming law that there is, but this article will look at five of the most interesting and impactful ones from all around the globe!
Online Gambling Games Are Legal In India
Outside of traditional video games, online gambling games have increased in popularity. This is primarily because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to millions of people gambling on the internet for the first time as a way of having fun and keeping themselves entertained.
In India, online gambling games at offshore casinos are completely legal. You can find these yourself on reputable sites, like GambleOnline. The companies behind online gambling games must be licensed and verified, though – that’s the major catch.
Companies cannot allow people to play their gambling games without being officially commissioned; otherwise, they will get shut down and face the justice system! Fortunately, the internet is a well-regulated place when it comes to online gambling websites, so this is something you don’t need to worry about!
Loot Boxes Are Allowed – For Now
When it comes to online gaming, there’s been quite the controversy surrounding ‘loot boxes’ since the mid-2010s – but what are they exactly? Loot boxes are ‘mystery’ boxes that you come across in hundreds of video games. As a player, you have the option to purchase these loot boxes to earn mystery prizes, such as in-game cosmetics.
For now, loot boxes are allowed. However, there have been some complaints that loot boxes shouldn’t be allowed in video games due to their gambling-like nature. For example, the FIFA franchise has come under scrutiny because of its ‘player packs,’ which people can buy to see which players they can get from them.
Fortnite has also faced similar criticism; it is free-to-play but earns its profits through loot boxes available through its in-game store. Numerous critics believe that loot boxes aren’t suitable for Fornite’s target audience, with many of its players being teenagers and children.
Moving into the future, it’s expected that regulations will be implemented surrounding loot boxes to better protect casual gamers and younger players.
Video Game Age Ratings Are Mandatory
The chances are, you’ve been playing video games from a young age. During this time, you’ll have noticed that all of them have age ratings on the packaging (or home screens if you purchase them digitally).
By law, age ratings are mandatory – from the UK to the US. If companies do not display an age rating, they legally cannot release their games. Essentially, it’s just like movies; no age rating, no release.
In the UK, the Games Rating Authority (GRA) is the party that rates video games. Games must be rated either 12, 16, or 18 for player guidance. It is the responsibility of retailers not to sell video games to anyone who is under the age limit (in-store, they must check for ID).
In China, You Can Only Play Video Games For Three Hours Per Week
Recently, China implemented a huge shift away from video game culture. Instead, the government wants the population to be more focused on education and work, which is why there is now a three-hour cap on playing video games per week.
It’s a controversial law, and it’s highly unlikely that any European nations would implement something similar. Otherwise, there would probably be a huge uproar!
You Can Legally Re-Sell Video Games
Last but not least, you can legally re-sell video games. Whether you’ve owned the video game for two minutes or two years, it’s perfectly legal for you to head to a third-party retailer and trade it in. Alternatively, you can sell it yourself directly to the consumer – whichever option you prefer.
Moving into the future, re-selling video games will likely become impossible due to the fact that they’re all going digital. Sadly, video games that you can hold in your hands will become a thing of the past!
Not to worry, though, as you will still be able to re-sell your gaming consoles and devices, from the PlayStation 5 to the Nintendo Switch.
The online gaming industry is huge, which is why gaming laws are so important. Overall, the rules discussed above are integral to keeping players safe whilst ensuring that gaming developers abide by the right ethics – despite some of the aforementioned laws being a little bit controversial!