You’ve likely already seen the furor over gaming loot boxes rise up as a result of titles like Destiny 2 and Star Wars Battlefront 2, and were hoping that maybe the Entertainment Software Ratings Board would step in and corral things by classing loot boxes as gambling. The ESRB has officially made its stance known, and that stance is “meh”.
In an email to Kotaku, the ESRB argues that loot boxes do not qualify as gambling because there’s a guarantee that players will get something no matter what. “We think of it as a similar principle to collectible card games: Sometimes you’ll open a pack and get a brand new holographic card you’ve had your eye on for a while. But other times you’ll end up with a pack of cards you already have,” reads the response.
For the record, the ESRB does have alerts for “Real Gambling” – in-game wagers that cost real cash – and “Simulated Gambling” – betting with in-game currency. The ESRB does also have a listing for “Digital Purchases”, but that is only applied to digital games where additional content can be bought.
Lockboxes suck. There’s no way around it. They’re easily the most predatory and crappy way to get money from people and they should be abolished. That said, one can’t help but think that this latest gaming-related static will only last a short while, and devs will simply have to ride out the storm and wait for things to calm down so they won’t have to enact any change.
Source: KotakuRelated: ESRB, Gaming, Industry, Loot Boxes, MMO, MMORPG, News