Pieterjan Declerck and Nadia Feci present their research at the European Communication Conference 2022 in Aarhus, Denmark.

(29-11-2022) The 9th European Communication Conference took place in Aarhus, Denmark from 19 to 22 October 2022.

During the conference, our researchers Nadia Feci and Pieterjan Declerck presented the research that they are conducting within the Gam(e)(a)ble project. Nadia’s research concerned the impact of game streamers on adolescent viewers and the regulation of their activities. Her main conclusions were that the current regulatory framework (in particular the Audiovisual Media Services Directive) is not adapted to these new content creators. This raises problems in terms of legal certainty and ultimately of the effective protection of media viewers against harmful content

Pieterjan presented together with Gam(e)(a)ble colleague Maarten Denoo (KU Leuven). Their presentation, based on research conducted together with Valerie Verdoodt, Eva Lievens & Bieke Zaman, related to how loot boxes, such as FUT player packs in the videogame FIFA 22, are part of a broader videogame ecosystem, and how this impacts the applicability of the regulatory framework. More specifically, the research analysed loot boxes from a children’s rights perspective and focused on consumer protection regulation at the level of the European Union as an alternative to gambling regulation for children’s protection. Concepts such as unfair commercial practices, information and transparency obligations and unfair contract terms were all discussed within the context of FIFA and its digital ecosystem wherein players may be subjected to so-called ‘dark patterns’ and other nudges which incentivise engagement and spending in the video game. In the research, specific attention was given to this digital ecosystem, which includes not only the video game itself but also social media and other online platforms where players interact with the video game and its contents. 

More information about the  Gam(e)(a)ble project is available here.