Loot Boxes: Benign Entertainment or Gambling for Minors?
In 2019, Senator Josh Hawley put forth legislation to regulate loot boxes advertised or sold to minors in video games. The legislation was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation but did not move any further. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been researching the use of loot boxes since 2018 and has done multiple workshops to promote public awareness of microtransactions. More recently there has been public sentiment for changes in the gaming industry and other countries such as Singapore have taken steps this year to protect consumers from predatory practices of game companies.
Is Self-Regulation in the Modern Era of Gaming Enough? How the ESRB Hopes to Raise Awareness on Loot Boxes, Randomized Items, and other Microtransactions
Earlier this year, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (“ESRB”) assigned a new disclosure for their video game ratings system: “In-Game Purchases (includes Random Items).” The decision stems from public outcry and FTC concerns about gamers, mostly children, being able to easily spend real money for randomized in-game content. But is it enough?