Sci-tech

The FTC Is Investigating Loot Boxes, and the ESA Has Responded

The FTC Is Investigating Loot Boxes, and the ESA Has Responded”

The United States' Federal Trade Commission is committed to investigating video game loot boxes amid concerns about how such systems might enable and encourage children to gamble.

Now, it seems as if that prediction is one step closer in becoming true, as the US Federal Trade Commission has announced it's looking into video game loot box usage within America. Hassan during her questioning.

"Loot boxes are now endemic in the video game industry and are present in everything from casual smart phone games to the newest, high budget releases", said Hassan, "Loot boxes will represent a $50 billion industry by the year 2022".

Over the a year ago, the rising controversy around loot boxes has turned the heads of more and more government officials from all over the world. "Children may be particularly susceptible to engaging with these in-game purchases which are often considered integral components of video games".

Loot boxes form an integral piece of the progression mechanics in many of today's most popular games including Overwatch and Federation Internationale de Football Association.

Senator Hassan concluded by asking FTC chairman Joe Simons for a pledge to investigate loot boxes, and Simons applied affirmatively, as did other members of the committee.

Issues around loot boxes certainly tend to flare up in periodic bursts and then kick off possible interest from government officials, without too much aggressive follow-up action (at least in public).

Still, whatever these companies have done to ease the negative reaction to loot boxes doesn't appear to be enough. Meanwhile, the Entertainment Software Association contends that loot boxes are not gambling because they "have no real-world value". "They can enhance the experience for those who choose to use them, but have no impact on those who do not". Whatever you think about them personally, they have clearly been abused in current years, and publishers may be seeing true repercussions for them. If not, you may end up with something you didn't need, which could tempt you to pay for another loot box to get something better (or perhaps regret buying the box in the first place). While the Aussie report acknowledges, and even sympathizes with, the economic realities of the video game industry, it ultimately found loot boxes to be a legitimate risk.



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