FTC Head Promises to Look Into Video Game Loot Boxes

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Like it or not, loot boxes are now almost synonymous with online video games. While some might like the random, slot  machine-y feel of these “rewards,” not everyone feels the same. If you’re siding on the latter, then you’ll be very happy to know that the Federal Trade Commission is jumping in on the topic too!

During today’s FTC oversight, agency head Joe Simons promised that he would look into video game loot boxes. Chiming in, Senator Maggie Hassan states that loot boxes are now “endemic” to the video game industry from smartphone apps to high-budget (AAA) releases. Hassan thinks that children are “particularly susceptible” to such purchases, and points out that a UK report pegs that 30 percent of kids have used loot boxes in video games, which could correlate with gambling issues later on. Hassan stresses that it was time to investigate loot boxes to make sure kids are protected, and to educate parents on possible addiction to it.

Hassan also mentioned that revenue generators like video game loot boxes are predicted to be a $50 billion business by 2020, which sounds about right, given Activision alone confirms that the company earns about $4 billion a year in microtransactions, which of course, includes loot boxes.

Is this the sign that loot boxes in video games are going away? Maybe. But knowing the video game industry, they’ll find a new way to wring money out of consumers even without it.

Source: SeekingAlpha (login required)