Latest in Gaming

Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment

Federal Trade Commission agrees to investigate loot boxes

The practice is coming under scrutiny from legislators in several countries.
821 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

Blizzard Entertainment

The Federal Trade Commission has agreed to investigate loot boxes in games, along with their impact on kids. The agency's commissioners committed to the probe after Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) raised the issue at a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation subcommittee hearing. Loot boxes offer players in-game items, but because you can often buy them with real money and the virtual goods within are awarded at random, some claim they're tantamount to gambling.

Hassan cited a UK Gambling Commission report from earlier this month indicating that 31 percent of 11- to 16-year-olds have opened loot boxes -- the report didn't state whether those children had bought them with money or earned them through in-game activity. However, the commission remains unconvinced that loot boxes have a direct link to gambling.

The senator previously raised the issue with the Entertainment Software Rating Board, which agreed to add an "in-game purchases" label to physical copies of titles that include them and/or other microtransactions. Many major games offer loot boxes, including Fortnite (only in the "Save the World" mode), Overwatch, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and the FIFA series.

Loot boxes have come under scrutiny in various jurisdictions over the last year or so. Belgium banned them, and Square Enix has removed three mobile games from the country as a result. The Netherlands has blocked loot boxes in certain games too, while China and Japan have moved to regulate them. Meanwhile, some state legislators, along with gambling regulators in Europe and the Australian Senate, are looking into the practice.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
821 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

Engadget’s guide to Home Entertainment

Engadget’s guide to Home Entertainment

View
Crowdfunded case will give your Windows PC that Mac Pro look

Crowdfunded case will give your Windows PC that Mac Pro look

View
Original 'Fortnite' map vanishes in a cataclysmic event

Original 'Fortnite' map vanishes in a cataclysmic event

View
Andy Rubin quietly left the venture company he founded

Andy Rubin quietly left the venture company he founded

View
The best outdoor security camera

The best outdoor security camera

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr