The Loot Box Gambling Problem

The Loot Box Gambling Problem


Maxwell Gamer: This is my last loot box – 2 loot boxes left.
When am I gonna get a legendary?
I have one legendary skin, but it was a duplicate.
LAST loot box!
YES!
*gasps*
I’ve been wanting one of the Widowmaker skins! *claps*
Welcome to Media/Pool, I’m Joshua
Courtney. Loot boxes are a regular part
of the gaming world. They are virtual
items that can either be earned with
in-game progression or bought with real
money. Inside these loot boxes are
randomized items – items that could be
common cosmetic items or rare items. They
are used to bring in extra revenue for a
games company using the element of luck
and chance, to keep players coming back
for more.
The only problem is, with any types of
luck involved, people can become addicted
and that, this year and within the years
to come, is the major problem. But why has
this issue suddenly spiked so much
interest? Some could say that successful
games like Overwatch and FIFA
jump-started loot box popularity. FIFA
with packs, and Overwatch with cosmetic-only loot boxes. Jump to Star Wars
Battlefront 2, released in the fall of
2017. The latest game in the Star Wars
franchise, this game contains loot
boxes that used to impact actual play by
offering items like power-ups in the
loot boxes. Therefore, if one player
bought a substantial amount of loot
boxes, the process itself being called
microtransactions, they would be deemed
more powerful than other players who haven’t
actually spent real money to gain more
loot boxes. This is often called ‘pay to
win’.
Due to the community backlash, the games
developer EA decided to remove
microtransactions from the game a day
before release until further notice. To
add insult to injury, a comment from EA
on the popular forum site Reddit
explaining the situation famously became
the most downloaded comment on the site,
with over half a million downvotes. Talk
about a protest. Now the reason why this
is so concerning is because often loot
boxes coerce players into spending money
to buy more. Didn’t get that item you wanted,
but can’t be bothered spending more time
earning loot boxes in game? You buy more.
The question now is, is this gambling? The UK
Gambling Commission doesn’t think so,
comparing opening loot boxes to opening
a pack of cards – you’re always going to
get at least something. A petition has
been set up to adapt gambling laws to
include that of video games which can
target children. All this hits home when
I stumbled upon a Reddit post by a 19
year old gamer with a gambling addiction,
saying that he has spent well over ten
thousand dollars over the past two years
on microtransactions alone. Sure, this is
a worst case scenario. But how would you feel
if your children were growing up without
knowing the dangers of addictive,
gambling behavior? Authorities in Belgium
and Hawaii have begun investigating
these practices, and the discussion is
still ongoing. And that’s all from me for
now. If you enjoyed this video please
click like and subscribe below, leave a
comment, and check out our other videos.
This has been me, JoshCPlays, for
Media/Pool. Thank you for watching!

5 thoughts on “The Loot Box Gambling Problem”

  1. I'd never really heard of Loot boxes before i watched this video, but I can now see why they could be a problem, especially in terms of children playing games which involve them!

  2. I really like the style of all your videos, Josh! I'm not a huge gamer, but you've described the danger of loot boxes in a really clear and concise manner. I do know that similar in-game purchases have been under scrutiny in recent years. Do you think this is a bigger risk to young people, or those with money in their bank accounts to spend?

  3. Fantastic video! I've been reading a lot on the controversy with Loot Boxes, especially since all of the backlash surrounding Star Wars: Battlefront 2, so this did a really great job of furthering my understanding.

  4. I never knew they were called Loot Boxes but was aware of the in-game purchases issue. Really well described Josh.

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