According to Take-Two’s President, loot boxes in video games aren’t considered gambling, although there are some who beg to differ. However in a post on Reddit a user by the name of Kensgold is a 19-year old who claims to have spent over $13,000 on microtransactions to date, and is urging companies like EA to reconsider their approach to microtransactions in games.
Kensgold claims that in order to support his gambling habit, he had to take on two jobs and nearly dropped out of high school as a result. He also shared the receipts and bank statements of his microtransactions with Kotaku as proof, where he spent over $13,000 on games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Smite, and The Hobbit: Kindoms of Middle-earth.
While he does not appear to blame any company for his addiction or his choices, his open letter is a plea to developers to consider the effect that microtransactions have on people such as him who might be especially susceptible. “My problem stems from a deeper issue, my addiction to gambling. This addiction is a personal failing of mine and the reason I can’t in good conscience buy games that offer an loot crate, at all.”
He also specifically mentions EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront 2, where he notes that because of how beloved the Star Wars universe is, kids will be playing it, and from there they could learn to love the rush of getting good items from loot boxes, which in turn could turn it into a habit. “So please again take a moment to reflect. There are no laws in place to protect the youth of our nation and others like it. I was one of the many who was hurt because of that. Help me prevent it from happening to the next generation, give them the chance I never had.”
Kensgold’s post is pretty much in line with what Democrat representative Chris Lee of Hawaii said last week, where he stressed that there needed to be some kind of measures in place to protect those who are underage from such situations. Whether or not EA will take this to heart remains to be seen, but for now the publisher has temporarily disabled the feature.