FTC workshop looks into loot boxes

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Gamers call them loot boxes – in-game rewards players can buy that contain a random assortment of virtual items. The loot may help players advance in an online game or allow them to customize their avatars. The rewards may be virtual, but they’ve become a very real revenue stream for game developers. Do loot boxes raise consumer protection concerns, especially for younger players? That’s the topic of an upcoming FTC workshop, Inside the Game: Unlocking the Consumer Issues Surrounding Loot Boxes.

Inside the Game will bring industry representatives, consumer advocates, academics, and others together to talk about the marketing of loot boxes and other in-game purchases, including a discussion of the potential behavioral impact on young consumers. Panelists will explore the in-game transaction landscape, the role of loot boxes in the digital marketplace, and the latest research on child and adolescent behavior in the context of video games and digital transactions. Also, how knowledgeable are consumers about the mechanics and marketing of in-game transactions?

The event is set for Wednesday, August 7, 2019, at the FTC’s Constitution Center conference facility, 400 7th Street, S.W., in Washington, DC. We look forward to seeing you there or you can watch the live webcast.

Two things we’re asking of you in the meantime:

  • Send us your feedback on possible agenda items and potential panelists. Email lootboxworkshop@ftc.gov by June 7, 2019.
  • You can file an online comment about the issues discussed at the workshop. We’ll keep the public record open until October 11, 2019.
     

Comments

Loot boxes are gambling. Proof: is what you got from your loot box randomizes? Yes? It’s gambling. I could put in $5 and get what I want. Instant winner Or put in $200,000,000 and still not get it. That’s gambling.

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