Hi, I’m Leon, a PhD Fellow at the IT University of Copenhagen, currently visiting Manchester Metropolitan University.

I research video game law, particularly the regulation of loot boxes, a quasi-gambling monetisation mechanic in video games. I use empirical legal research methods and am passionate about open science. I also dabble in some research on gameplay time and the intersections between cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and gambling.

I have testified before an Australian House Committee. My research has been referenced (twice!) in the House of Lords and relied upon by UK, US, EU, Spanish, Belgian, Danish, Dutch, Australian, and Brazilian policymakers and regulators. The Belgian Minister of Justice has publicly accepted my critical research. Game companies and industry self-regulators have also taken direct compliance and remedial actions following my research.

My research has received worldwide coverage by The Guardian, The BBC, The Times, CNBC, NPR, Ekstra Bladet, Politiken, El Español, El Economista, Der Standard, Het Nieuwsblad, Het Laatste Nieuws, ČT24, SCMP, NME, The Daily Beast, New Scientist, Thanh Niên, and leading video game media, including GamesIndustry.biz, GameSpot, Eurogamer, and Game Developer, amongst others. I was named a Game Awards Future Class member, a Forbes 30 Under 30, and a Berlingske Talent 100 for my policy advocacy.


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I have been invited by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) of the UK Government to provide advice on its technical working group for loot boxes and the Video Games Research Framework. I was also invited to advise the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets, amongst many other policymakers and regulators around the world. My research was referenced on behalf of the UK Government in the House of Lords to support its regulatory position (Hansard: HL Deb 13 Oct 2022, vol 824, col 890); during debates in the Lords on the Online Safety Bill (Hansard: HL Deb 17 July 2023, vol 831, col 2152); and extensively in evidence to an Australian parliamentary committee and the Committee’s eventual report (pp. 138–146). My legal analysis of EU consumer protection regulations has been incorporated into the UK Advertising Standards Authority’s guidance on advertising in-game purchases (pp 9–10) and the UK Government’s response to the loot box call for evidence (paras 202–207). I was cited in class action complaints filed in California and two Spanish consultation papers on loot boxes. I co-won the impact prize at the 2023 annual conference of the Society for the Study of Addiction.

I hold law degrees from Durham University and City, University of London and also studied on exchange at National University of Singapore. I am an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Previously, I was a Lord Denning Scholar at The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn and held visiting appointments at KU Leuven (Belgium), The Jagiellonian University (Poland), Queen Mary University of London (UK), and Stanford Law School (US).

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Get in touch at leon.xiao.y [at] gmail.com