Summary of “How loot boxes hooked gamers and left regulators spinning”

Last May, the Belgian Gaming Commission decided that loot boxes fell under the jurisdiction of its gambling law, and studios like Blizzard, Valve, and EA all pulled loot boxes from their games in those countries.
“Loot boxes are a shining example of why we need to update our gambling law.” If the FTC investigation were to determine that loot boxes are an unfair or deceptive practice, the body could potentially declare a new rule that would affect the entire gaming industry.
Even while in beta testing, players were upset with how the game used loot boxes.
“We shouldn’t allow Star Wars to influence your kids to gamble.” Following the outrage, Hawaii state lawmakers made one of the most prominent change attempts, introducing four bills that would set rules for the gaming industry when it came to loot boxes and microtransactions.
“Depending on the game design, some loot boxes are earned and others can be purchased. In some games, they have elements that help a player progress through the video game. In others, they are optional features and are not required to progress or succeed in the game. In both cases, the gamer makes the decision.”
“A player can play through an entire video game successfully without buying a single loot box. In many cases, a loot box simply allows a user to collect a cosmetic in-game item. Loot boxes often enhance the experience for those who choose to use them, and are just another part of the many unique experiences that video games offer.”
If somebody – whether that be the FTC, Congress, or the courts – were to formally consider loot boxes as gambling, the gaming industry could suddenly be out billions in annual revenue, which could spell disaster for the industry’s current business model.
Geofenced intrastate online gambling can be legal, but since video game studios operate globally, studios could be forced to only sell loot boxes in states that already allow online casinos.

The orginal article.