Loot Box Systems Are Not Gambling, Says ESRB

Loot Box Systems Are Not Gambling, Says ESRB

Loot Box Systems Are Not Gambling, Says ESRB

Some gamers feel randomized loot boxes (or microtransactions in general) have no place in a $60 game.

While some might like the idea of unlocking random stuff, it's a pain in the neck for those looking for one specific item. But nope, not going to happen as the ESRB doesn't see it as a form of gambling at all.

"ESRB does not consider loot boxes to be gambling".

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Dirk Bosmans, from European video game rating organisation PEGI echoes these statements to Eurogamer, saying "Loot crates are now not considered gambling: you always get something when you purchase them, even if it's not what you hoped for". We think of it as a similar principle to collectable card games: sometimes you'll open a pack and get a brand new holographic card you've had your eye on for a while. "But other times you'll end up with a pack of cards you already have". The ESRB already has two classifications for wagering in games - "Real Gambling" and "Simulated Gambling". John Bain, aka TotalBiscuit, feels that loot boxes are gambling despite the fact that the player always receives something of value. The ESRB made a statement yesterday about this, and today we have a similar statement from PEGI, the European ratings board.

Following up on this angle, Kotaku got in touch with the Entertainment Software Rating Board, or ESRB as it's more commonly known. If a guarantee of in-game content is what differentiates loot boxes from gambling, what about when you open up a box and find nothing new in it? So isn't the virtuality of an item just serving as a loophole?

KitGuru Says: So many issues surround the idea of loot boxes, which makes me wonder why anyone would support them in the first place.

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Games which include a loot box element need a gambling license, and the industry is closely regulated.

Players have raised concerns about the use of loot boxes in recent games like Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Middle-earth: Shadow of War, specifically over the worry that the gameplay benefits of loot boxes could veer too far toward a "pay-to-win" strategy.

The UK is now considering regulation of skin gambling and loot boxes, with a review by the UK Gambling Commission ongoing as of August 2017. Maybe if society has accepted digital goods as a viable means of trade in the future, the concept of loot boxes would definitely be revisited and reclassified as gambling from that point on.

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