The Federal Trade Commission says it is investigating loot boxes, a controversial video game mechanic that can allow players to spend real money on randomized goods.
During a hearing yesterday, FTC chairman Joseph Simons addressed New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan, who has recently spoken out about loot boxes. During her turn to ask questions at the hearing, Hassan cited a recent report by Great Britain’s Gambling Commission that found 31% of children in the country had at one point or another paid money to open a loot box, a well as moves by Belgium, Japan, and other countries to limit how loot boxes can be used in games.
“Given the seriousness of this issue, I think it is in fact time for the FTC to investigate these mechanisms to ensure that children are being adequately protected and to educate parents about potential addiction or other negative impacts of these games,” Hassan said. “Would you commit to undertaking this project and keeping this committee informed about it?”
In response, Simons said “yes,” but declined to go into any more detail about the FTC’s current position on loot boxes and whether they constitute a form of gambling.............