The Senator Maggie Hassan has taken up the issue of loot boxes being akin to gambling and is urging regulatory bodies to seriously look into the problem.
The inclusion of loot boxes in video games have been at the center of controversy for some time now, with Star Wars Battlefront II being one of the main reasons why the issue was brought to the forefront. While EA maintains that loot boxes are not a form of gambling, the issue is still under scrutiny in several areas. The US Senator Maggie Hassan is now asking the ESRB to take into consideration the inclusion of loot boxes when rating games.
The Senator has also reached out to the Federal Trade Commission to discuss this issue, asking if they believe “that children being addicted to gaming – and activities like loot boxes that might make them more susceptible to addiction – is a problem that merits attention?” We’ll have to wait and see if the FTC will consider the issue of loot boxes and four nominees have agreed to address the issue if it is confirmed to be a serious problem.
In her letter to the ESRB, the Senator stated, “The prevalence of in-game micro-transactions, often referred to as ‘loot boxes,’ raises several concerns surrounding the use of psychological principles and enticing mechanics that closely mirror those often found in casinos and games of chance. The potential for harm is real.” The ESRB has received her letter and has stated that they will look into the issue.
We’ll have to wait and see what the end result of this will be and how the FTC and the ESRB will respond to the issue of loot boxes in video games. Maybe we’ll see new bills being introduced, similar to what has happened in Hawaii and video game companies will have to be more careful about including invasive microtransactions in their games. What do you think about this issue? Let us know in the comments.