American FTC agrees to investigate loot boxes

Many months ago, EA sparked a worldwide crackdown on microtransactions, in particular loot boxes. Countries like Belgium classified the pay-to-win mechanics in Star Wars Battlefront II as gambling and banned them. Loot boxes can be found in numerous titles and usually cost real currency. They include randomized items so players have to keep on buying…

American FTC agrees to investigate loot boxes


Many months ago, EA sparked a worldwide crackdown on microtransactions, in particular loot boxes. Countries like Belgium classified the pay-to-win mechanics inStar Wars Battlefront IIas gambling and banned them. Loot boxes can be found in numerous titles and usually cost real currency. They include randomized items so players have to keep on buying them to unlock the items they want.

According to a report byPolygon, the American Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has agreed to investigate loot boxes, following an official request by Senator Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire. Hassan said, “Loot boxes are now endemic in the video game industry and are present in everything from casual smartphone games to the newest, high-budget releases.” While the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) claims that they don’t harm anyone, children are more susceptible to getting addicted due to their slots-like nature.

Polygon reached out to the ESA and the organization said, “Loot boxes are one way that players can enhance the experience that video games offer. Contrary to assertions, loot boxes are not gambling. They have no real-world value, players always receive something that enhances their experience, and they are entirely optional to purchase. They can enhance the experience… but have no impact on those who do not.”

However, just because loot boxes have no “real-world value,” it doesn’t mean that they don’t cost “real-world” currency. It’ll be interesting to see how the FTC rules because we’ve come across many children who have become addicted to buying them, and have even spent thousands of dollars as a result.

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