Games News

USA rekindles the anti-loot box flame, Australia hops aboard

Blizzard
The standard loot box in Overwatch
Overwatch - Loot Box

Even though the Land of the Free was among the first to raise concerns over loot boxes in games, it seems that every other country ended up doing at least something concrete in the meantime. And that list now includes Australia as well.

First things first though, because US Senator Maggie Hassan seems to have gone for big air by involving the Federal Trade Commission, a scenario which would leave yours truly with a whole paragraph of words to eat real quick. I'd do it with a smile though, which speaks volumes of my love for loot boxes.

Granted, Hassan doesn't seem to be a fan either, which was pretty evident from her lengthy speech on the "endemic" occurrence that are loot boxes. Citing the latest research data, Hassan said that 30 per cent of children in the UK know about loot boxes and have used them more than once, which in itself is already a reason for concern.

At one point during the meeting, Hassan asked the FTC Chairman Joe Simons whether the FTC would "commit to undertaking this project [of looking into loot boxes] and keep the committee informed about it." Simons replied with a brief yes, which normally wouldn't instill confidence, but this is the FTC we're talking about here. 

Hassan also highlighted other market estimates, which state that the loot box industry will be worth $50 billion by 2022. We guess it would make sense to address this issue early, before the companies behind them end up being too big to fail.

Having advocated for some sort of loot box regulation since day one, Hassan would already be considered a household name, if loot box debates allowed for those. In fact, it's Senator Hassan who sent an official enquiry to the Entertainment and Software Ratings Board, so as to find out what they're planning to do to tackle the issue, even though they only ended up marking the games that contain microtransactions.

AltCharThe standard loot box in OverwatchBelgium, Loot Box

In the meantime, the Australian government has jumped aboard the anti-loot box train, with the Senate proposing a comprehensive analysis of loot boxes in gaming prior to any decision making.