Loot crates don't class as gambling to video game rating boards

ESRB doesn't consider loot crates as gambling

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has now come out and officially stated that they do not see loot boxes as a form of gambling, even though there are people who would argue otherwise.

Gaming at the moment is facing a loot box epidemic, in that any and every other release seems to contain the randomised content crates, causing quite the controversy for many reasons. "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)", an ESRB rep said in the aforementioned statement. In contrast, loot boxes always give something to customers despite their random nature.

Whether you get one item, multiple items, have to pay to open it, or have the option pay for as many loot boxes as you want, there's one constant: What you receive is nearly always completely random. These loot box systems have been used for years in games like Counter-Strike, Overwatch, Rocket League, and Team Fortress 2.

Whether you consider loot boxes as a form of gambling depends on your personal definition of gambling. There's also the argument that if they did rule loot boxes to be gambling, any game with this kind of economy would be labeled "Adults Only" AO. The ESRB's criteria considers real gambling to involve the wagering of real cash, while simulated gambling means that players can gamble without betting or wagering actual money. Reportedly, the Chinese government has already done so with games that launch locally, and some can argue that this would be the most reasonable approach to solving this issue - since micro-transactions are clearly not going away. And now we are to the point where videogames like Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Star Wars: Battlefront II more or less require players to buy loot boxes in order to gain any advantage. They inherently prey on the player's need for reward, prompting them to take a chance at instant gratification which can in turn cause addiction in the same way that gambling does, all the while enabling them to spend real money.

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