A new body calling itself the National Committee for Games Policy has announced its formation as the “video game industry’s first, and de facto, self regulatory organization.”
The NCGP was formed in light of the recent controversies relating to microtransactions. The organization aims to provide industry insight and expertise to government policy makers on matters relating to the regulation of the games industry. It describes itself as being apolitical, but it is working to “collate the information provided by the public and games professionals into a unified political position.” This will be done by leveraging “a coalition of high level industry experts and influencers.”
The NCGP is comprised of two divisions. The ITK (we don’t yet know what this stands for) is described as “a privately funded think tank” that deals with the NCGP’s political and policy making relations. The other division, the SRO (we don’t know what this stands for either), is described as a consumer watchdog with responsibilities including the protection of whistleblowers and the investigation of consumer complaints.
We know nothing of the NCGP beyond what has been stated in its press release and on its website. The latter is surprisingly unprofessional-looking for an organization with such lofty goals. The NCGP has said that its members may remain undisclosed and membership is by invitation only. Of the eight currently disclosed members, none are attached to a high level position in a developer or publisher of AAA games. Rather, they’re associated with a variety of free-to-play online and indie games.
Given how little we know about it, we can’t help but feel skeptical of the NCGP’s hazy long-term goals, but it has, at least, announced an immediate course of action—releasing quarterly reports of consumer complaints and investigations.
We’ve reached out to the NCGP for details on its intentions, including what it will investigate, how it will conduct investigations, and what help it will provide to whistleblowers.
I do think that there needs to be some sort of industry group preferably of a technical nature, similar to the IEEE, rather than the ESRB, or the various state level gaming commissions. I don't think this is it, or how to go about it. These guys just seem like leeches based on the limited information.
If it must be a federal agency the ESRB is the natural choice. The ESRB could modify their ratings system to account for the predatory or benign nature of the loot box system. So something like Battlefront 2 would get a bump to a mature rating for their aggressive use of loot boxes to drive game play. Where as games without aggressive loot boxes would get flag for "gambling" similar to the "violence" or "tobacco use" flags they currently use.
Who gives a flying fuck.