Loot boxes have become a stain on gaming. How do we move forward?

Fifa 18 Player Celebrating

Chances are as a gamer you have come across loot boxes in your favourite games. You may have even got your bank card out and purchased some yourself. Ten years ago micro-transactions barely existed. Today you will struggle to find a game that doesn’t have them in some form or another.

After the whole CSGO Lotto scandal involving ProSyndicate (Tom Cassell), TMARTN (Trevor Martin) and Josh OG hiding their affiliation with the site in question. Rightly so the debate around the ethics of loot boxes has begun.

Game developers go to great length to entice gamers into purchasing loot boxes.

Game developers go to great length to entice gamers into purchasing loot boxes. When you open them, you are dazzled by bright colours and well animated opening scenes. This process is refined right down to the sound effects and music used.

At first I wasn’t too bothered about loot boxes but given the state they have left many a game in, I simply cannot support them any longer. Unless of course they are ethical and have the gamers best interests at heart.

EA allegedly under investigation by Belgium’s gambling commission

Fifa and Counter Strike Global Offensive are two of the worst offenders and EA appears to potentially have legal issues regarding their micro-transactions more specifically those in Belgium.

Many European countries have begun looking at the legality around loot boxes, Belgium’s government are the first to take action. Belgium’s gaming commission have stated that loot boxes are in violation of their gambling regulations.

“The Gaming Commission investigated four video games: Star Wars Battlefront II, Overwatch, FIFA 18 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive. They all belong to the genre AAA games, being video games that reach millions of people around the world, often produced by large studios. Those video games are connected to their own age system (PEGI). That system decides on the content of video games, but does not consider whether there is systematic use, winning or losing of real money. “

https://www.koengeens.be/news/2018/04/25/loot-boxen-in-drie-videogames-in-strijd-met-kansspelwetgeving (In Dutch)

Overwatch’s purely cosmetic loot boxes maintain morals


Overwatch is a good example of a loot box system I can get behind. Firstly you can obtain everything within these loot boxes without spending real money. You can have to spend a lot of time playing but it is possible. Each time your account gains a new level, which is roughly every 5 games you get given a free loot box. Any duplicates contained within, will be automatically exchanged for credits. You can unlock cosmetic items you want with these credits. You can open your wallet and purchase additional loot boxes, but personally I have found no reason to do so. I am able to unlock the stuff I want. Once you have been playing a while, your credits soon build up through duplicates and drops within loot boxes.

If we are to have loot boxes in gaming lets at least make sure their ethical and not preying on young people. It is easy for anyone to lie about their age on the internet, so perhaps some kind of age verification is needed. This way parents would have to make the ultimate decision whether they want their kids spending money in this way.

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