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Loot Boxes Are Not Gambling, According To ESRB


Currently there is a heated discussion around the internet about loot boxes in video games. Many games that are coming out currently now have implementations of the system to the ire of many gamers.

Kotaku reached out to the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) about this issue, whether the loot boxes can be considered gambling due to the nature of its randomness.

Here’s the response from the ESRB spokeperson:

While there’s an element of chance in these mechanics, the player is always guaranteed to receive in-game content (even if the player unfortunately receives something they don’t want).

We think of it as a similar principle to collectible card games: Sometimes you’ll open a pack and get a brand new holographic card you’ve had your eye on for a while. But other times you’ll end up with a pack of cards you already have.

The comparison to trading cards is interesting, because the whole experience of buying and opening loot boxes does tie so well with the act of buying and opening random card packs. But real-life cards can be traded and value can change over time- not something we see as much in most games that implements loot boxes.

Should these were considered gambling, the ESRB will have to issue these games as “Adults Only”, which would cause major problems many retailers refuse to sell games with that rating.