Published: Fri, November 30, 2018
Electronics | By Shannon Stone

The FTC may be coming after video game loot boxes

The FTC may be coming after video game loot boxes

The Federal Trade Commission has pledged an investigation into loot boxes that are found within video games.

Senator Hassan also pointed out that there is more to be done to educate parents about addiction and other issues that video games can present for their children. She also stated that loot boxes are on track to generate $50 billion by the year 2020 and cited a report from the United Kingdom that stated 30% of children have utilized loot boxes before, which could later lead to gambling issues. The massive number is supported by a $20 billion growth in four years, the total of which is equal to roughly half of the overall gaming industry's estimated revenue in 2017 and more than 50 times the value of the esports industry as a whole, according to market research firm Newzoo.

"Contrary to assertions, loot boxes are not gambling", the association said in a statement.

This is particularly concerning-especially from a regulatory standpoint-when loot boxes make their way into kid's games. But during Tuesday's hearing, Hassan also noted that countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands have been outlawing loot boxes, claiming they can expose children to a form of gambling.

An Australian Parliamentary committee has issued a report calling on the government to undertake "a comprehensive review of loot boxes in videogames".

If the Senator's concerns are for children playing the game, then a more unsafe part of it might be that, since children paying for loot boxes generally have access to a form of money, they're more vulnerable to scam sites and credit card thieves.

She asked if Simons was committed to looking into video game loot boxes and keeping the oversight committee informed about the topic, and he replied with a simple "Yes".

ESA responded to Polygon: "Loot boxes are one way that players can enhance the experience that video games offer. They can enhance the experience for those who choose to use them, but have no impact on those who do not".

Lawmakers the world over are continuing to turn up the heat on loot boxes.

Do you think the government should get involved in some capacity, and if so, what restrictions or regulations do you hope or anticipate that they will set?

Video game makers have defended loot boxes as a way to provide additional, optional content to players after a game has been published.

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