Games | Tech

Controversial In-Game Features That Could Become Illegal

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Currently there is heated debate ongoing in the world of gaming about a whole range of in-game features. There are about to be severe consequences for monetization, loot boxes and the question of whether specific mechanics are legal. Global governments are avidly studying what exactly constitutes in-game gambling and whether players need to be protected by new definitions.

Loot Boxes

Today, many video games feature loot boxes, digital ‘grab bags’ which can be purchased with in-game credit or real currency. Players then receive a selection of items, and the issue is that they never know what’s in the loot boxes. Each game provides varying rewards, and there’s no way of knowing if it will improve winning odds. The argument is that players are paying good money for items that should be part of the basic game.

loot boxes

Under investigation for a while, a US senator has recently proposed a full ban on these loot boxes. Aside from coercing spending within the games, they exploit children! If approved, the new legislation would prohibit loot boxes in digital games for children under 18. It is also an issue that game developers shouldn’t be allowed to prey on or monetize addiction. As a result, according to an article from, big game developers like Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony will require new and updated games to disclose loot box odds by 2020.

Online Gambling

The debate around the legality of online gaming has raged on for years. Countries employ different gambling laws, and in Canada, each province has its own laws, making the situation even greyer. At, you’ll find an extensive guide about the legality of online gambling for each province.


The use of an online casino as an in-game feature drops a new level of confusion into the equation. GTA Online recently launched the Diamond Casino & Resort, an exciting playground for all manner of experiences from customizing a Master Penthouse, to drinking champagne at the infinity pool.

But since this is primarily a casino, there is also gambling. Players are gambling with virtual money at the resort, which has always been legal in video games. The virtual money is bought with real money, and there is no way to turn it back, other than as a value is assigned to the purchase. This is easy to interpret as gambling. Arousing suspicion with multiple international governments, GTA’s Diamond Casino has already been blocked in more than 50 countries where gambling laws appear to be restricting players.

Uncensored Adult Games

Sexual content in gaming is not a new thing. Game developer Mystique produced adult games for its Atari 2600 way back in 1982, and the infamous Leisure Suit Larry was a cult hit when it was released in 1987. Valve has recently announced that it will cease to police content that individual developers release onto its platform. But does this mean that anything now goes?

It appears not. Players welcomed Steam’s first uncensored adult game just recently, Negligee: Love Stories. The anime-style production immediately came under scrutiny, and within a week of release had been restricted from purchase in several countries. Since then, more than 28 countries have banned the game, including Germany, where the sexually explicit game violates censorship laws. The production company Dharker Studios is quoted as saying that the restrictions are just the ‘downside of being the poster child for the first adult game on Steam.’


VPN usage, and whether or not players will be banned from games, is a hot subject. It is generally frowned upon as some players use them to share accounts or purchase a boost. Others use VPNs during gaming to obtain better latency and ISP networking or simply because they value privacy. Whether VPNs are allowed varies with each game, with most saying that they don’t support or recommend them. Some issue an immediate ban if you use one. Click here to see the full list of popular games that might ban you if you use a VPN.


Other games can be region-locked and using a VPN with a dedicated IP might be essential. It is crucial to check the game regulations. If players do opt for a VPN, they should seriously consider the consequences as their account status is at risk.

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