The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today announced an upcoming workshop focused on the ongoing drama surrounding loot boxes.
Titled “Inside the Game: Unlocking the Consumer Issues Surrounding Loot Boxes,” the workshop aims to examine the consumer protection issues surrounding loot boxes in video games. On August 7, industry representatives, consumer advocates, trade associations, academics, and government officials will converge to discuss the topic. These include the origins of loot boxes, how they’re marketed, and impact they have on consumers.
Loot Boxes are a form of microtransactions where players pay a few to open a virtual box for virtual rewards. While the practice has gone on for a few years, the floodgates burst open following the release of 2017s Star Wars Battlefront II. At launch, the game put loot boxes front and center by tying progression to them. It created a situation where those who paid money received in-game advantages.
Since then, countries have moved to limit the practice, and, in some cases, outright ban them. As such, some publishers have pulled them from their games in favor of other less controversial microtransactions. However, some publishers, including EA and Activision, continue to implement them. United States Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) personally asked the FTC to investigate back November, which they agreed to do.
Be sure to check back following the August 7 workshop to learn more about what will happen next in the loot box saga.