Microtransaction-addicted teen asks EA, others to reconsider loot boxes

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If you listen to game publishers, the microtransactions you’ll find in games aren’t anything like gambling. Most recently, Take-Two president Karl Slatoff opined that it’s about keeping the consumer happy.

“The whole gambling regulator thing, we don’t view that sort of thing as gambling. Our view of it is the same as the ESA statement for the most part,” Slatoff said. “That’s going to play its course, but in terms of the consumer and the noise you hear in the market right now, it’s all about content. It’s about overdelivering on content and making sure you’re focused on engagement. That has been our strategy and where we’re focused, and as long as you keep your eye on that ball, you’re going to be OK. The consumer’s going to be really happy with what they get.”

There are many other, of course, who do feel that loot boxes are gambling – or at the very least, have the same effects, and appeal to the same addictions. One teen, going by the name Kensgold posted on Reddit with an appeal to games publisher to reconsider their stance on microtransactions.

He’s a 19-year-old who has, to date, spent over $13000 on mictrotransactions out of addiction in games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Smite, and The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth. Though he’s not blaming developers and publishers for his predicament, he is urging them to veer away from gambling mechanics. He specifically calls out Star Wars Battlefront II because of its franchise popularity, saying that it’s a potential gateway for children to become addicted to gambling.

“My problem stems from a deeper issue, my addiction to gambling. This addiction is a personal failing of mine and the reason I can’t in good conscience buy games that offer an loot crate, at all.

“So please again take a moment to reflect. There are no laws in place to protect the youth of our nation and others like it. I was one of the many who was hurt because of that. Help me prevent it from happening to the next generation, give them the chance I never had.”

He’s since been profiled incredibly over at Kotaku, should you wish to read his story a little more in-depth.

“The majority of the reason that I made my post was not really to slam EA or any of the companies that do this, but to share my story and to show that these transactions are not as innocent as they really appear to be,” Kensgold told Kotaku. “They can lead you down a path. It’s not like buying a stick of gum at the store.”

Loot boxes. Not even once.

Last Updated: December 1, 2017

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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