National Committee on Games Policy Formed in Wake of Outcry over Loot Boxes *UPDATE*

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Amidst the ongoing debate as to the nature of loot boxes and gambling, “industry leaders and experts” as forming a non-partisan advocacy group called the National Committee on Games Policy.

The committee is “the world’s first public policy think tank associated with the video games and interactive entertainment industry,” a “coalition of high level industry experts and influencers” as “part of a larger movement dealing specifically with laws pertaining to video games.” Their stated objective is “to help government policy regarding video games develop appropriately with guidance and input from industry leaders,” in order to “give policy makers the information they need to make informed decision[s].”

The NCGP describes itself as distinct from “traditional special interest” groups because they have “no stated positions on any issue.” Instead, they will “collate” information they receive from both the public and game development professionals to present a “unified political position” that is based on “adopting the opinions and views of our industry expert members and evidence found through our research.”

The NCGP plans to use two separate divisions to accomplish its stated goals. The ITK is a “privately-funded think tank,” which will “represent itself as a group of consummate professionals from every part of the video game community” to “represent the entire industry.” Because of this, the ITK “will not release opinions on differences within the industry except as they relate to public policy.”

Alongside the ITK, the SRO is the “second and much more important arm of the NCGP,” positioned as “the videogame industry’s first, and de facto, self regulatory organization.” The SRO will “protect consumers from unscrupulous video game companies by investigating and bringing legal action against those companies that have damaged the public consciousness in some way, whether mental or physical.” Additionally, they will establish a “whistleblower center” to help combat abusive employer practices.

If any of that seems vague, it is. And while the concept is certainly hopeful, many questions remain unanswered. While the NCGP fronts its strangely amateur-looking website with a “Gamers Under Fire” stamp beside its logo, almost half of its eight members are part of mobile game publisher Incuvation Games. It is unclear what opinions they bring to the table, but it sounds more than a little like assigning foxes to guard a henhouse.

Nevertheless, these steps were inevitable. Despite the NCGP’s seeming initial unsteadiness, this could very well mark a turning point for a notoriously unregulated and predatory industry in the midst of its emergence as a primary global form of entertainment, with billions on the line.

**UPDATE**

Erik Kain writes at Forbes that Kenneth Tran, the man behind the NCGP, previously described himself as “a prolific internet troll” in an article written for Medium and raises other questions about the validity of the organization. Tran responded to Kain’s article on Twitter, claiming that the NCGP was a legitimate organization and that he has previously worked with “Kushner (Trump family).”

https://twitter.com/TheNCGP/status/935622813167206400

He also provided a copy of the organization’s 527 group IRS filing, though Kain notes it was not filed until after his original article about the NCGP was published.

Follow Nate Church @Get2Church on Twitter for the latest news in gaming and technology, and snarky opinions on both.

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