Game companies will restrict access to so-called loot boxes, which allow players to buy in-game goodies at random, BBC News reports.

The line between loot boxes and gambling is very thin, and the restrictions are designed to improve protection for all players.

The Ukie, the body that represents gaming companies, says the 11 new guidelines “underline the industry’s commitment to safe and responsible gaming”.

Loot boxes are a way to spend real money to obtain digital items such as new characters, in-game clothing, weapons, moves or experience points. Exactly what you get with each box is random. Some compare them to buying a Kinder egg or a pack of football stickers. Others say it’s like using a slot machine.

The UK government has been trying to find a solution to the problem for three years, from threats to ban their use by under-18s in the UK to an injunction last summer that games companies must create new rules to protect children and young people.

Some countries, such as Belgium and the Netherlands, believe that these boxes lead to gambling addiction.

In July last year, then culture minister Nadine Dorries said that as evidence of loot boxes was still emerging, “direct government intervention could lead to unintended consequences”.

Nadine Dorries also said at the time that before any new laws are introduced, the gaming industry must come up with its own measures. It took nearly 12 months for those measures to be agreed.

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