U.S. FTC Chairman Promises to Investigate Game Loot Boxes

posted on by Karen Ressler

United States Federal Trade Commission chairman Joseph Simmons said on Tuesday that he will launch an investigation into video game loot boxes. New Hampshire senator Maggie Hassan initially requested the investigation "to ensure that children are being adequately protected and to educate parents about potential addiction or other negative impacts of these games."

Hassan previously sent a letter to the ESRB asking the group to review the ratings process for games with loot boxes, or gacha (a term derived from gachapon capsule toys). The organization added a label for in-game purchases but not specifically for loot boxes, which offer random rewards, sometimes in exchange for real money.

Several other countries have moved to regulate the gaming mechanic. The Belgian Gaming Commission declared in April that the loot box mechanic violates the country's gambling laws. As a result, Square Enix is ending service for three of its smartphone games in Belgium, and the Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle game will no longer offer certain items for purchase in Belgium. The Netherlands has also banned loot boxes.

Apple requires smartphone apps to disclose the odds for loot boxes.

Source: Variety (Brian Crecente)

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