A long-promised FTC workshop on loot boxes has been announced and will be taking place in August 2019. This FTC loot box workshop will seek to tackle issues surrounding microtransactions and loot boxes, a long-contested issue that has been seeing a good deal of legal action taken against them around the world ranging from warnings and regulation all the way up to outright bans in some situations.
On the off chance you've been living under a rock, loot boxes are a particular type of microtransaction where gamers will typically get a randomized set of rewards. Typically, they can be earned through gameplay but are often purchased in batches with the hopes of scoring in-game items. A tiny portion of users categorized as "whales" will spend hundreds or even thousand of dollars on loot boxes in the hopes of securing an elusive rare item for themselves.
Understandably, some people are concerned about the impact of loot boxes on gaming. There have been no shortage of horror stories of an underage kid getting their hand on mommy's credit card and racking up a huge bill or adults with a bit of a compulsion who go broke trying to get a Legendary skin in some game. The resulting outcry has led to the Federal Trade Commission to finally put together a workshop to try to sort out some of these issues.
Titled Inside the Game: Unlocking the Consumer Issues Surrounding Loot Boxes, the FTC loot box workshop will primarily cover three areas of the topic as noted on the workshop's web page:
- A look at the in-game transaction landscape, including the origins and evolution of loot boxes and their role in game play and the digital marketplace;
- Research examining consumer behavior, including child and adolescent behavior, in the context of video games and digital transactions; and
- A discussion of consumer awareness and education about in-game digital transactions, including the mechanics, marketing, and financial commitments associated with loot boxes.
What do you think of the FTC loot box workshop? Do you think it will result in any meaningful action surrounding the business practice? Let us know in the comments below!