Loot boxes have recently come under fire for potentially being a form of gambling. The argument is that because players have no idea what they will get, but yet put real-life money upfront for it, thus in a way it is similar to gambling. Of course not everyone agrees with that assessment, but it hasn’t stopped regulatory bodies around the world from investigating.

For the most part the investigations have taken place in other parts of the world, but now over in the US, the FTC has agreed to investigate loot boxes in gaming. This is according an official request by Senator Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) where according to Hassan, “Loot boxes are now endemic in the video game industry and are present in everything from casual smart phone games to the newest, high budget releases.”

In a statement made to Polygon in response to the investigation, the Entertainment Software Association said, “Loot boxes are one way that players can enhance the experience that video games offer. Contrary to assertions, loot boxes are not gambling. They have no real-world value, players always receive something that enhances their experience, and they are entirely optional to purchase. They can enhance the experience for those who choose to use them, but have no impact on those who do not.”

Of course whether or not the investigation will end up favoring developers/publishers or it could end up with tighter controls and regulations remains to be seen. In the meantime companies such as Blizzard have disabled loot boxes in their games in Belgium.

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