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  • ESRB Doesn't See Loot Boxes as a Form of Gambling

    Loot boxes. We all know them, we all have a love-hate relationship with them. They're those things where you can spend currency to purchase boxes that contain "random" loot drops that range from cosmetics to gameplay altering gear. More often than not, these loot boxes can be purchased using real world currency. A lot of people feel as though this is a form of gambling.

    While it seems obvious that loot boxes are indeed a form of gambling, the ESRB doesn't seem to agree. Kotaku was the first outlet to get a response back from the ESRB about what they think about loot boxes and their relationship to gambling.

    "ESRB does not consider loot boxes to be gambling. While thereís 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 donít want). We think of it as a similar principle to collectible card games: Sometimes youíll open a pack and get a brand new holographic card youíve had your eye on for a while. But other times youíll end up with a pack of cards you already have."

    The ESRB does actually tackle some gambling in their ratings. They have the "Simulated Gambling" tag which is reserved for games that feature gambling that doesn't use real cash or currency. Another descriptor is "Real Gambling" and is reserved for games that make use of wagering involving real cash. These Real Gambling games are always given Adults Only (AO) ratings, an ESRB rating that spells doom for any game that would like to be sold in retail stores.

    The only indication that a game may contain loot boxes is the "Digital Purchases" descriptor that they add to games that include any sort of paid additional content. Though these are not limited to just loot boxes and can include things like cosmetic micro-transactions, additional missions, etc.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: ESRB Doesn't See Loot Boxes as a Form of Gambling started by Shawn Zipay View original post
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