FTC To Host Public Workshop Concerning Loot Boxes In 2019
Overwatch Loot Box

Later in the year the Federal Trade Commission, at the request of Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan, will host a public workshop involving consumer advocacy groups, parent groups, and the gaming industry in an open, honest discussion about loot boxes.

KIA picked up the news from Ars Technica, who is reporting that the Federal Trade Commission has set to host a workshop later into 2019 so that various members inside of and outside of the industry can convene to discuss the impact of loot boxes on gaming culture, gamers, and the industry at large.

That letter was composed by FTC Chairman Joseph Simons to Senator Maggie Hassan, as part of an attempt to help start or step into a public conversation about loot boxes.

This comes after Senator Hassan requested the Federal Trade Commission at least investigate the claim of loot boxes being gambling back when the Star Wars: Battlefront 2 kerfuffle took over the media waves and exposed Electronic Arts for the greed-mongers that they are (as if core gamers needed any more proof of that?).

Senator Hassan had originally requested the investigation back in February of 2018. Nine months later the Entertainment Software Association issued a rebuttal in November of 2018 after the FTC said that they would investigate loot boxes. According to the ESA, they claimed that loot boxes were not gambling because gamers always received something no matter what they rolled. Many retorted by asking the ESA if slot machines or roulette would no longer be gambling if someone always got back a free drink or item?

To this day, the question still has yet to receive an answer.

Many gamers suggested that to prevent the government from getting involved companies like Electronic Arts and Warner Bros., should have policed themselves better or the ESA should have convened to offer some kind of regulation before the government got involved, but neither the publishers nor the ESA were willing to regulate loot boxes on their own, so eventually government bodies got involved, which resulted in regions like Netherlands and Belgium outright banning loot boxes on the grounds that they were illegal gambling.

There’s no time frame on when the public workshop will take place, but it will be sometime later this year.

(Thanks for the news tip Ebicentre)

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Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

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