The FTC just put gaming loot boxes in its sights

Loot boxes

The US Federal Trade Commission has pledged to investigate video game loot boxes

The Federal Trade Commission will investigate the potential "negative impacts" that video game loot boxes may have on children.

Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., to probe the issue at an agency oversight hearing, FTC Chairman Joseph Simons said he would commit to launching a probe.

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. "Loot boxes will represent a $50 billion industry by the year 2022, according to the latest research estimates".

Loot boxes have become synonymous with modern gaming.

Loot boxes
The controversy over loot boxes boiled over following the release of Star Wars Battlefront II last year

Sen. Hassan told Variety the attempts by the industry to self-regulate have not been enough and again cited the United Kingdom report: "The need for FTC action becomes more apparent given the recent report from the Gambling Commission of Great Britain and the steps other countries have taken to regulate loot boxes". As Kotaku noted today, Star Wars: Battlefront II also completely overhauled its system after getting fan feedback and moved away from "pay to win" loot boxes. She then asked commissioners if they would be willing to look more closely at their usage in video games, and the commissioners said they would. They work like this: You fork over cash to buy a mystery box, which may contain a valuable in-game item-but only if you're lucky.

Loot boxes are one way that players can enhance the experience that video games offer. Meanwhile, the Entertainment Software Association contends that loot boxes are not gambling because they "have no real-world value". And Australian lawmakers held a series of hearings on the issue this year, culminating in a report to the Australian Senate finding that loot boxes risk exacerbating "gambling disorders" among some players.

World Patent Marketing, a company accused by the government of bilking millions of dollars from consumers, admitted no fault but settled with the FTC for more than $25 million earlier this year.

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? Though EA seems to be standing strong on loot boxes in general, there have been some other publishers who have reconsidered loot boxes in their own games.

Magic Johnson doesn't want Lakers to use LeBron like Cavs
When he was asked about his status for Thursday night's game against the Indiana Pacers , Ball said he would be out there. But I'm available anytime we need a play to be made. "For those guys to go out and make plays down the stretch is key".

Latest News