Ever since EA released the money-hungry Star Wars Battlefront 2 last year, the topic of loot boxes in gaming has skyrocketed. Belgium has declared that games that feature the monetary system are classed as gambling games, while other AAA releases now have to confirm whether or not the feature will be included in their titles before launch.
The latest government to jump on the topic of loot boxes is the US. America’s’ FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is an independent US agency designed to enforce consumer protection and eliminate monopoly.
Now, they’re after loot boxes. The agency’s chairman, Joseph Simons, affirmed that the agency should investigate the business practice.
“Loot boxes are now endemic in the video game industry and are present in everything from casual smartphone games to the newest, high budget releases,” said Senator Maggie Hassan.
Simons’ proposed investigation will tackle loot boxes at a federal level. Investigations will be composed around the threat that loot boxes pose to consumers. They’ll determine how predatory and addicting the common practice has become in modern video games.
Senator Hassan has attempted to tackle loot boxes prior to this incident; she sent a letter straight to the ESRB to request a further pry into loot boxes and how they should be rated. Hassan’s campaign was a success – ESRB rated games now add warning labels to games that feature loot boxes as a mechanic.
It’s obvious that EA’s treatment of Battlefront II has seen some lasting consequences on the gaming industry as a whole. Whatever you think about them personally, they have clearly been abused in current years, and publishers may be seeing true repercussions for them.