The ESRB says loot boxes are not similar to gambling

The loot box debacle seems to have no end and now even the ESRB have weighed in on the drama. According to the Entertainment Software Rating Board, loot boxes and their murky marketing isn’t considered a form of gambling.

While I haven’t seen a lot of people directly calling it that, I have seen and heard the association between the two in the past. Forking out cash for unknown items may seem like a gamble for some, while others see it more like a lucky packet. The ESRB, in this instance, feels it’s the latter.

“ESRB does not consider loot boxes to be gambling. While there’s an element of chance in these mechanics, the player is always guaranteed to receive in-game content (even if the player unfortunately receives something they don’t want). 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.”  

I agree with their statement, even though I think loot boxes terrible for games and a complete waste of money.

My first encounter with them was way back when playing Mass Effect 3’s online multiplayer. You didn’t need to pay for them, but if you didn’t want to grind, you could buy them. I wasn’t always a fan of the random picks, but I never spent cash on it.

Having said that, I have purchased cosmetic items in the past and dug into various microtransactions. In a few cases I did buy weapons to gain an advantage online, specifically The Last of Us. The difference here is that I knew what I would get. A loot box just isn’t worth the risk if you ask me.

Source: Destructoid

I R ‘Kaal’gat Kyle!

  • OF COURSE the esrb would say that.

    the esrb has a vested interest in this sort of “gambling.” it’s a bit of a conflict of interest there. the esrb rates games. they get money for rating games. the more games the merrier.

    this is just going to pour fuel on the lootbox fire. now the publishers will push even harder and see how much further they can possibly go [before a government of some sort intervenes.]

    this whole lootbox fiasco is terrible for everyone. [publishers included.]

  • Wesley

    Although the term “gambling” is associated with taking risks, the legality aspect of it is related to something that can earn you real life money.

    If lootboxes were considered gambling, then why do arcades exist that earn you tickets to get prizes?

    Either way though, i dont mind lootboxes. Either i earn them or buy with in-game currency. I cant justify spending money outside the price of the game itself (except maybe a expansion) so i never have, and never will.

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