This week, Chris Lee, the Democratic representative of Hawaii, announced that his state will begin an investigation to stop the “predatory practices” of video games with loot boxes. This, since it considers that they are designed to function as casinos. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA for its acronym in English), an organization that represents the video game industry in the White House, did not sit idly by and pointed out that this type of mechanics are not gambling.
Through a statement sent to Glixel, ESA explained how loot boxes work and made it clear that it does not consider them gambling. Apparently, it thinks this since they are not obligatory mechanics to enjoy a game.
“Loot boxes are a voluntary feature in certain video games that provide players with another way to obtain virtual items that can be used to enhance their in-game experiences. They are not gambling. Depending on the game design, some loot boxes are earned and others can be purchased. In some games, they have elements that help a player progress through the video game. In others, they are optional features and are not required to progress or succeed in the game. In both cases, the gamer makes the decision,” the statement said.
It is important to note that ESA is not the first organization to speak against the notion that loot boxes are gambling. Last month, ESRB said it can not categorize them as such because the player is guaranteed to receive content. On the other hand, Electronic Arts mentioned that they do not fall into this category since they can be obtained through regular gameplay.
Despite these opinions, more and more legislators are showing their concern about this issue. In addition to the example already mentioned, commissions from Australia, Belgium, and France are already aware of the issue and are discussing it.
And what do you think? Should loot boxes be considered gambling and be regulated as such? Tell us in the comments below.