Overwatch Lootbox

ESA President Says That Lootboxes “Are Not Gambling”

He also says that governments classifying them as such “Challenges our industry’s freedom to innovate,”

The President of the Entertainment Software Association, Mike Gallagher, has voiced his support for lootboxes, and said that “Most importantly, these in-game transactions are not gambling.” whilst talking at the Nordic Game Conference.

For the uninitiated, The ESA is a US trade association for the gaming industry, and is responsible for organising E3 every year in Los Angeles. They were also the people who first established the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board).

Gallagher also stated that monetisation in games is “done in a way where the gamers are pleased with how we interact with them.” and that “Video games never take money from a player and leave them with nothing. They never do. Players always receive an in-game feature that aids in customising their experience…”

He also stated “When you look at the definitions of gambling throughout the world… it’s quite different to the mechanism with loot boxes in games.” and concluded “in other words, that this game mechanic is not gambling – by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board in the US, by New Zealand’s gambling authority, and by the UK’s gambling authority.”

Meanwhile, the Belgium and the Netherlands’ Governments have concluded that lootboxes are a form of gambling, and found that certain games like Fifa 18, Overwatch and Rocket League were in violation of their regulations. In relation to government regulators, he said “Those that get it right will be rewarded, Those that don’t, won’t.”

Gallagher also made the point that developers can create and tailor their business practices to “instantaneous feedback” and “The consumer telling you if something is right or wrong by their participation.”

This comes after Battlefront 2 developer DICE confirmed that they would not have loot boxes in Battlefield V. 

Do you think lootboxes are gambling? How do you feel about Mike Gallagher’s statements? Join the discussion below.

Image Source: Blizzard Reveals Loot Box Odds/Rolling Stone 

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