According to UKIE, the loot box systems in games - sometimes requiring gamers to use real money to purchase a box containing random items that may or may not have what players want - complies with the current United Kingdom, standards for gambling. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has now come out and officially stated that they do not see loot boxes as a form of gambling, even though there are people who would argue otherwise. Including these elements in games is somewhat toxic to developers and publishers, since they will get automatically rated as Adult Only content and won't be sold in most major stores. 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.
Because the player always received something, it was likened to buying collectible cards, where some packs will contain more valuable cards than others.
The ESRB replied to Kotaku with the following statement: "ESRB does not consider loot boxes to be gambling".
Loot boxes are a hot topic right now, with Middle-earth: Shadow of War and its unnecessary microtransaction push at the very centre of the debate. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally.
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It's fast becoming the reality that loot boxes aren't all that it's cracked up to be. Merriam-Webster Dictionary keeps the definition pretty broad: "To bet on an uncertain outcome".
The Gambling Commission draws the line here, of course, and blames the myriad websites that exist to promote and foster the exchange of rare video game items for real life currency.
The outcome of opening a loot box is certainly uncertain, but ESRB doesn't consider it to be "real gambling".
Well, it seems the video game industry can breathe easy for now.
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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.
A system of trading has therefore developed, with players using third party gambling sites to pit their own skins against those of other players, or of the site itself. There's a chance to get something you really want, and people may keep throwing money at the game until they get it, just like they would when hoping for a slot machine jackpot.
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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