Menu

Loot Boxes Will Be Investigated by FTC

Microtransactions and loot boxes are almost universally despised by the gaming community these days. Even so, most companies that take charge of popular multiplayer titles use them as a means of making the majority of their money. The morality and ethics behind this are choppy, especially when players run into paywalls, pay-to-win, and random-chance loot boxes, especially when all of these appear in the context of a game that already costs money. However, the days of random loot boxes may be numbered in the United States; the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has promised a thorough investigation of the practice that could potentially outlaw them from the entire industry.

The question remains: are there grounds for banning loot boxes nationally? I say, “absolutely,” but perhaps not in the way a lot of people think and perhaps not even in the way the FTC intends to investigate the situation. The argument floats around that loot boxes simply deceive the players into believing their chances of receiving something of significant value are higher than the truth. While studios and publishers certainly want you to believe that, the most this will probably advocate for are the chances being listed for each item or type of item the loot box could give you. China enacted a similar policy earlier this year which let the cats out of their bags for many games. The true way we may see a ban in the United States relates to a conversation from earlier this year involving the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).

It’s said that they considered (and still are considering) microtransactions and loot boxes effectively forcing a game into a mature rating. First of all, this would make the entire industry practically only for the ages of 17 and older. I doubt this will really go through, but the same premise could be used to wipe loot boxes clean off the state. The United States has strict gambling laws that prohibit people under the age of 18 from gambling; in some parts of the country, it even reaches 21. In other parts, certain types of sports gambling are banned altogether. Loot boxes closely resemble this idea of paying money for a chance at something possibly more valuable but usually less valuable.

Loot boxes arguably expose children and teenagers to gambling earlier than U.S. law intends. The FTC could decide that the mainstream appeal of video games – especially games like Fortnite – is unstoppable and that the most effective way to keep children from loot boxes is to disallow them. However, the beforementioned consideration by the ESRB could still serve as another option.

There are also questions surrounding what the industry will do in the event that loot boxes go away. Let the speculation begin! While loot boxes certainly get into some legal issues, microtransactions are here to stay, so companies will have that to bank on. However, I could see an evolution of the loot box coming out of this. This biggest issue is within the unknown chances and how they relate to kids. It will be interesting to see how the industry handles this.

No comments

Leave a Reply

Newsletter

Sony Announces Last 2019 Episode of State of Play

Sony decided to squeeze in one last thing before the year comes to a close and mere days before Geoff Keighley’s The Game Awards ceremony. The last thing is another State…

December 6, 2019, 60

SuperEpic: The Entertainment War Review – More Like Slightly Epic

SuperEpic: The Entertainment War is a Metroidvania-style game developed by Undercoders and published by Numskull Games. Undercoders are best known for their 2016 release, Conga Masters, and before that, they…

December 5, 2019, 202
Image captured from Sparklite. Depicts player in ancient ruins encountered after each boss fight

Sparklite Review: A Roguelite with Emphasis on the Lite

Sparklite is an isometric action-adventure rogue-lite developed by Red Blue Games. Previously a mobile developer, this is Red Blue’s first effort on consoles. As such, Sparklite does have some elements…

December 2, 2019, 173
Super Mario Maker 2 update

“Legendary Update” Coming to Super Mario Maker 2

Super Mario Maker 2 already has massive amounts of content compared to its already-impressive predecessor, and for the first time since release, Nintendo’s dropping a major content update. First up,…

December 2, 2019, 119

The Grand Tour Game Review – Thru The Aphex

Honestly, Top Gear ten years ago was unstoppable.   The charisma and stupidity which oozed from the musings and adventures that Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May went on, and it…

November 30, 2019, 225
Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire

Top 10 Games of 2014 – The Year of Nintendo

  2014 marked the first full year of the current console generation, but somehow, Nintendo found a way to overshadow that and put out hit after hit on the WiiU…

November 27, 2019, 186
Image from Star Wars Jed: Fallen Order. Depicts protagonist Cal Kestis charging at an AT AT with is lighstsaber in hand

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is Selling Like Hotcakes, Sequel Likely on the way.

Today, EA announced that its recently released Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is the fastest-selling digital Star Wars game within the first two weeks of release. They also disclosed that Star…

November 27, 2019, 270

The Ultimate 2019 Holiday Game Compilation

Black Friday is right around the corner and with it comes an exorbitant amount of new games to buy for the holiday season. Wallets around the world tremble at the…

November 25, 2019, 317

Personal Top 10 Sinnoh Pokemon

I took a break last week to dive right into Pokemon Sword and Shield, but now we’re back with the Sinnoh list! Just like with the last three lists, this list…

November 24, 2019, 291

New PlayStation Controller Design Patent Revealed

We’re approximately a year away before the next-generation consoles hit store shelves and it appears we have received our first glimpse of the next DualShock controller. A recent patent emerged from…

November 20, 2019, 296