Strasbourg (ots) – You can find the video on the subject in the European Parliament office at https://www.presseportal.de/nr/106967
Parliament called for better protection against vices and manipulative practices. To harness the enormous potential of the video game industry, more support is needed.
The European video game sector is growing rapidly – industry estimates assume a market volume of €23.3 billion in 2021.
The initiative report, approved in Strasbourg on Wednesday, calls for uniform rules so that parents have a good overview and control over what games their children are playing, how long they are playing and how much money they are spending.
Address problematic buying practices
Computer games can trick players into purchasing “loot boxes”: packs of random virtual items that help players progress through the game. As players spend real money on this, it can have negative psychological and financial consequences through unwanted or uncontrolled purchases.
The Commission should therefore investigate how loot boxes are sold and take the necessary steps to ensure a common European approach to consumer protection.
MPs also warn against the practice of “goldfarming”, where players acquire in-game currency and then sell it for real money. Likewise, items purchased in games or entire user accounts may be traded, sold and wagered for real money, which is contrary to the terms and conditions of video game publishers.
As gold mining is also linked to money laundering, forced labor and the exploitation of children in developing countries, Parliament calls on national authorities to put an end to this practice.
MEPs stress that canceling online video game subscriptions should be as easy as subscribing. Automatic extensions are problematic if they continue indefinitely against consumers’ wishes.
The return and refund policy must comply with EU consumer law. Consumers have the same right to returns and refunds for online purchases as they do for in-person purchases.
better protect minors
Parliament wants to ensure that children and young people are better protected from the potential harm of online video games and targeted advertising.
It calls for better parental control tools according to the PEGI (Pan European Game Information) age rating system. This would allow parents to exercise more control over their children’s gaming habits and better monitor the time and money their children invest in video games.
Noting the potential negative impact of video games on mental health, lawmakers are urging manufacturers to avoid manipulative game design, which can lead to gambling addiction, isolation and online harassment.
Ensuring the protection of vulnerable groups
In order to better protect vulnerable groups in the context of online gambling, consumers should be provided with all necessary information about gambling. This would help them make an informed decision about an eventual purchase.
Parliament also called for the design of online video games to be more inclusive and accessible.
Improve compliance with data protection regulations
In the context of online video games, user data must be further protected in order to comply with the requirements of the data protection regulation.
Support for the online gaming industry
The online gaming industry is growing and contributing to the digital transformation in the EU. Many people use online video games not only as a hobby but also as a mental exercise. Games are also a useful tool in education.
The Commission is invited to present a European strategy for video games to support more than 90,000 direct jobs in Europe. As the industry is expanding rapidly, the economic, social, educational, cultural and innovative aspects of online video games must be considered.
To recognize achievements in this industry, Parliament wants to introduce an annual EU award for online video games.
MEPs welcome the EU research project ‘Kids Online’, which is collecting data from across Europe on children’s experiences with online video games. Parliament is asking for EU funding for this and similar projects.
Text approved (01/18/2023)
Video of the debate (01/17/2023)
Announcement on the vote in the committee (12/12/2022)
Profile of the rapporteur Adriana Maldonado López (S&D, ES)
You can find the video on the subject in the European Parliament office at https://www.presseportal.de/nr/106967
Usage rights: Free use in the context of editorial reporting. Editing, reprinting and use of excerpts only with permission.
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