FTC Pledges to Investigate Loot Boxes
Gaming Monetization Compared to Gambling
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) yesterday agreed to investigate video game loot boxes, following an official request by Senator Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.). FTC chairman Joe Simons affirmed Sen. Hassan’s request that loot boxes be investigated.
“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, adding that loot boxes will “represent a $50 billion industry by the year 2022,” likely referring to a report earlier this year from Juniper Research.
Games such as “Overwatch” include paid “loot boxes” that some psychologists have called a form of gambling. Loot boxes, which can now be found in many popular video games including “Overwatch,” “Star Wars: Battlefront II” and “Counter Strike,” are a form of micro transactions that cost real-world currency to purchase in-game packages that can include everything from new characters and weapons to character costumes and even dance moves.
According to NBC:
Loot boxes are now a common part of major video games and gaming culture. The U.K. Gambling Commission published a report last week that three in 10 children had opened a loot box in a video game. It was the highest rate of participation in gambling-style activities online by an almost 20 percent margin.
The video game industry is the new tobacco industry. How many times can prominent industry members say there is no link between gambling addiction and loot boxes? And just like tobacco ads from decades ago, a majority are targeted at kids. Hook em’ young! pic.twitter.com/0XQm0UNya9
— Video Game Attorney @ GDC (@Morrison) November 28, 2018
Do you think that the FTC should be getting involved? Lets discuss in the comments below. If you are looking for help, please call the National Council on Problem Gambling hotline at 1-800-522-4700.