Loot boxes have been a prevalent issue in the video games industry for several years now, but it was only after last year’s massive Star Wars: Battlefront 2 controversy that they were brought fully to the forefront. Since then, loot boxes have been called predatory and intrusive by many, while several nations have even flat-out declared them to be a form of gambling, and as such, illegal.
While some have remained adamant that loot boxes aren’t a form of gambling, a recent study conducted by the Gambling Commission of UK (via BBC) has provided evidence that they are. In the study, which was about rampant and growing gambling addiction among young people in the UK, it was stated that loot boxes in video games, thanks to their randomized and monetary nature, act as a gateway for young people to proper gambling addiction, and that over a million people have been exposed to gambling through loot boxes. This report was based on an Ipsos Mori study that was conducted on 2,865 people who were between eleven to sixteen years of age.
It’s really surprising that, even in light of mounting evidence, publishers still consider having loot boxes in their games to be acceptable practice. EA stated just a couple months ago that they will push forward with such monetization methods, while Ubisoft’s upcoming Trials: Rising is also going to have cosmetic loot boxes.