Steam isn't officially available in China, but it's not officially blocked either. But this inbetween state still gives the censors unofficial power to ensure that Steam does not allow adult games to be sold in China.
Steam only recently stopped censoring adult games in the rest of the world but the change of policy will not apply to China.
As part of the policy shift, steam added two more content filtering options for users: A general Mature Content filter and an Adult Only filter. But China doesn't have the latter option, which means that they don't have access to these games at
Chinese media speculated that Steam is restricting adult titles from Chinese gamers to avoid getting officially blocked in the country. China's government is tightening its grip on the gaming industry and repeatedly clamps down on online content
that they deem inappropriate, so Steam could be trying to keep a delicate balance: Not officially blocked, but not officially banned, either.
Fifteen EU-based regulators plus Washington State have made a joint declaration while Australian based study likens loot boxes to gambling, not baseball cards
Fifteen EU gambling regulators from the UK, Ireland, France, Austria, Poland, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Spain, the Isle of Man, Malta, Portugal, Jersey, Norway, and the Netherlands plus US representation from the Washington State Gambling
Regulator published the letter, noting their concerns with the business model.
In addition to the loot box problem, the letter addresses how it will take on websites that let players either gamble or sell in-game items like skins or weapons with real-world money.
One of the signatories, Neil McArthur, CEO of the UK Gambling Commission said:
We have joined forces to call on video games companies to address the clear public concern around the risks gambling and some video games can pose to children. We encourage video games companies to work with their gambling regulators and take
action now to address those concerns to make sure that consumers, and particularly children, are protected.
The letter speaks of the groups concerns but does not detail the direction sthat the group will take in reacting to the concerns.
According to VentureBeat, a study conducted by the Australian Parliament's Environment and Communications References Committee showed that there were links between loot box spending and problematic gambling. The population sample size was 7500
The more severe a gamers' problem gambling was, the more likely they were to spend large amounts of money on loot boxes. These results strongly support claims that loot boxes are psychologically akin to gambling, said the report, conducted by Dr.
David Zendle and Dr. Paul Cairns.
In a statement, the pair added loot boxes could potentially act as an introduction to gambling or take advantage of gambling disorders. They note that the industry tends to brush off loot boxes as similar to harmless products like baseball cards,
football/soccer stickers, and products along those lines.
In related news games maker EA could face legal issues for ignoring a ruling by the Belgian government to remove the Ultimate Team portion from FIFA 18.