Home Gaming Loot boxes aren’t gambling says ESRB

Loot boxes aren’t gambling says ESRB

2 min read
35

777

This is the year of our loot box 2017. Just about every big game that’s come out this year has some form of loot box dishing out rewards for players, that’s reliant on randomness. Many feel that, because these can often be bought with real-world money (or by using in-game currency bought with real-world money), that they’re akin to gambling. Ideologically, they’re not far removed from slot machines – triggering the same sort of dopamine hit that gets people addicted to the flashing lights and potential winning allure of a one-armed bandit.

They’ve become a point of contention, especially since they’ve been included in fully paid-for retail games – where they’re often viewed as a “pay-to-win” mechanic. Games like Star Wars: Battlefront II, Destiny 2 and Forza 7 have the blight of loot boxes upon. Not even single player games are exempt, as the recently released Middle of Earth-Shadow of War is loaded with them. For the most part, they can be happily and easily ignored, but there’s a growing consensus that they should be regulated just like regular gambling. Only they’re not gambling, according to the ESRB. The company that handles the regulation and classification of content in the US (analogous to our own FPB, though possibly less overreaching) says that loot boxes aren’t gambling.

Per Kotaku:

“ESRB does not consider loot boxes to be gambling,” an ESRB spokesperson told Kotaku via email. “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.”

While it may be semantics, the argument holds. Loot boxes are more like the lucky packets I spent all of my money on when I was a wee lad. You’re guaranteed to get something out of a Loot box, even if that something is sadness and wistful disappointment. I do, however, imagine that the FPB would believe differently, especially if they could find a way to profit from the sale of loot boxes.

Last Updated: October 12, 2017

35 Comments

  1. Ottokie

    October 12, 2017 at 08:42

    So people pay real money into a “machine/program”, a line starts running with an arrow with multiple icons on it with flickering lights and sounds the whole time as it slowly comes to a stop… now where have I seen this before???

    Reply

    • Kromas Ryder

      October 12, 2017 at 08:43

      What weird ass porn sites do you go to?

      Reply

      • Ottokie

        October 12, 2017 at 08:44

        Ones without loot boxes obviously.

        Reply

        • Kromas Ryder

          October 12, 2017 at 08:44

          OMG I just started imagining porn site lootbox videos.

          That would be super funny.

          Reply

          • Original Heretic

            October 12, 2017 at 08:46

            And seriously frustrating. As you get to a “good part”, you need to open the box.
            “Crap, I got the box where all the girls just leave!”

          • Kromas Ryder

            October 12, 2017 at 08:48

            Or the lootbox spits out a video with artsy sex scenes and an actual story. 😛

          • HvR

            October 12, 2017 at 09:08

          • Original Heretic

            October 12, 2017 at 09:23

            I freakin’ LOVED this movie.

  2. Original Heretic

    October 12, 2017 at 08:45

    Appropriate header. Since every time I open a loot box I feel like Brad Pitt from Seven. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/92713605e23dcecaf986561dac9b843f1cacbad8fc34d7052dd7f8e05b31c7bd.jpg

    Reply

  3. Admiral Chief

    October 12, 2017 at 08:46

    Blood Shards in Diablo 3 are also ‘gambling’ apparently

    Reply

    • Ottokie

      October 12, 2017 at 08:47

      But you can’t “buy” blood shards…also Kadala sucks. She always screws me over xD

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief

        October 12, 2017 at 08:48

        I only recently started with adventure mode (CRUSADER FTW) and loving it

        Reply

        • VampyreSquirrel

          October 12, 2017 at 09:11

          Took you long enough

          Reply

          • Admiral Chief

            October 12, 2017 at 09:16

            Also was pleasantly surprised last night with one of those treasure goblins and the secret portal. ALL THAT LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT

          • VampyreSquirrel

            October 12, 2017 at 09:55

            Whimsydale (I’m guessing) is fun… and disturbing.

          • Admiral Chief

            October 12, 2017 at 10:00

            Yes, you are correct. Whimsydale. I cannot wait for my next trip

          • VampyreSquirrel

            October 12, 2017 at 10:56

            Wait until you hit Torment 10-13 and end up in there. the gold and loot is incredible.

    • Mark Treloar

      October 12, 2017 at 09:56

      So are Steam sales.

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief

        October 12, 2017 at 10:00

        Or AAA releases xD

        Reply

        • Raptor Rants

          October 12, 2017 at 10:01

          Yes, you never know if you will get a complete game or not. Big gamble 🙂

          Reply

          • Admiral Chief

            October 12, 2017 at 10:14

            Zigactly

    • Raptor Rants

      October 12, 2017 at 09:59

      I think it can only be classified as gambling if real cash is involved somewhere

      Reply

  4. VampyreSquirrel

    October 12, 2017 at 09:04

    I totally disagree with putting progression behind loot crates (making it pay to win) especially in a game you pay full price for. I really don’t care if there are cosmetics in the loot crates in games, because I won’t pay for them anyway.

    Edit: But yes to me it’s gambling. 😛

    Reply

  5. Raptor Rants

    October 12, 2017 at 10:01

    Remember when I said Micro-transactions from mobile gaming would become more evident in AAA gaming.

    Well here we go. Loot boxes were essentially always only mobile games. Now it’s come through in to the “blockbuster” gaming scene.

    Eventually all games will follow the mobile model. Mark my words. It’s happening.

    Reply

  6. Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

    October 12, 2017 at 10:41

  7. Deceased

    October 12, 2017 at 20:54

    Rrrrriiight … and me putting 200 randzes into a machine – with the hopes of getting something that I want ( you know, like say 1000 randzes on top of my initial 200 randzes ) is also not gambling?

    The key here would be “game of chance” and lewtboxes are a mini-“game of chance” …

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Check Also

Has the FPB made itself redundant?

Quick lesson: The FPB AKA the Films and Publication Board in South Africa is responsible f…