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British technology inquiry chair says industry is only "paying lip service" to gaming addiction

King Digital, UKIE, TIGA, others struggle to convince MPs that games industry is taking issues like loot boxes seriously

The games industry is only "paying lip service" to concerns around gaming addiction, according to Addictive and Immersive Technologies Inquiry chair Damian Collins MP.

His comments came following today's hearing of the inquiry at Westminster which saw representatives from King Digital, UKIE, TIGA, the Video Standards Council, and the British Esports Association give evidence.

Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz following the session, Collins accused the industry of "waiting to be told what to do by others" rather than having a standard of its own in regards to loot boxes and excessive playtime.

"I don't think the industry is engaging with these topics directly, and that's what's been certain to us throughout the inquiry," he said.

"I think the concerns are real, particularly around gaming addiction... The consistent message we've had from the big game companies is this is not something they proactively monitor themselves."

Last week's session saw executives from Electronic Arts and Epic Games squirm under scrutiny from the committee.

Today's session provided an opportunity for the British games industry in particular to address growing concerns around gaming addiction, with UKIE CEO Dr. Jo Twist saying she would like to see more academic research done into the issue.

However, these comments rang hollow for Collins, who said the situation is "exactly the same as the debate about Facebook and other big companies as well."

"Ultimately they hold the data, they decide - if they are sharing data - what they share, they decide who has access to it and how they have access to it, and that is never going to allow a proper forensic study of these issues," he said.

"So it ultimately falls back to the government to look at things like the Online Harms White Paper, to look at the role of regulators with legal powers to run these sorts of investigations themselves, if industries or big companies don't want to facilitate them."

Check in with GamesIndustry.biz again tomorrow for a more thorough rundown of the day's events.

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