It continues to assert that loot boxes are not enforced on consumers and only provide players with digital items for an “enhanced” experience. Since they are optional, loot boxes cannot be termed as gambling.
“Loot boxes are a voluntary feature in certain video games that provide players with another way to obtain virtual items that can be used to enhance their in-game experiences,” the ESA told Glixel in a statement. “They are not gambling. 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.”
It should be noted that the ESA is made up of almost all the major video game publishers from the industry. This includes Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Capcom, Bandai Namco, Square Enix, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. It also oversees the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) that stated last month that it is unorthodox to take loot boxes as gambling. Hence, a possible conflict of interest may be present.
The controversy surrounding loot boxes and microtransactions is not new but was recently engulfed in flames because of the rather pay-to-win progression system featured in Star Wars Battlefront II. This is not the last time that we hear about the issue, as the movement to completely remove loot boxes marches on.