Even though we've been expecting their loot box workshop a bit earlier, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that 'Inside the Game: Unlocking the Consumer Issues Surrounding Loot Boxes' has been scheduled for 07 August 2019.
The workshop will feature industry representatives, consumer advocates, trade associations, academics and government officials, all of whom will be taking a closer look at loot boxes.
According to the announcement, they will "discuss concerns regarding the marketing and use of loot boxes and other in-game purchases, and the potential behavioural impact of these virtual rewards on young consumers."
In general, the topics will focus on:
- The in-game transaction landscape, including the origins and evolution of loot boxes and their role in game play and the digital marketplace;
- Research examining consumer behaviour, including child and adolescent behaviour, in the context of video games and digital transactions; and
- A discussion of consumer awareness and education about in-game digital transactions, including the mechanics, marketing, and financial commitments associated with loot boxes.
Overall, it seems as if we're heading for more discussion rather than action. We can only assume the FTC is aware that some companies rely on loot boxes, so it's probably wiser to analyse the situation a bit more before making changes that may damage companies.
On the other hand, FTC's chairman Joe Simons has promised to organise the loot box workshop back in November 2018, so holding it in August 2019 seems like it's not exactly a priority.
Add to that the fact that countries like Belgium, with a significantly smaller judicial system mind you, have already been acting on their concerns. Apex Legends has been the last game to remove paid loot boxes from the game, and Belgian Battle Pass owners now get an equal amount of crafting materials.
In fact, by the time the FTC hold their workshop, Belgium will have purged the entire loot box system from their country it seems. If they haven't done so already that is.
You can find the FTC's loot box workshop announcement here.