Federal Trade Commission Pledges to Investigate Loot Boxes Amid European Crackdown

Federal Trade Commission Pledges to Investigate Loot Boxes Amid European Crackdown

The US moves forward with investigating loot boxes.

US Federal Trade Comission (FTC) Chairman Joseph Simmons promised Congress the agency will look into video game loot boxes amid rising concerns for how the mechanic impacts children in relation to gambling and addiction.

The pledge was given during a hearing into the FTC's handling of Facebook and Google after the Cambridge Analytica data-leak when Congress brought up the issue of children's safety online. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) told Simons that loot boxes are an "endemic" to the video game industry and that children are "particularly susceptible" to the mechanic. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass) also raised concerns citing one microtransaction where a character continued to cry unless the player made a purchase.

Hassan also cited a UK report that said 30 percent of kids with problems with gambling also used loot boxes, a correlation that was widely reported on but one that the UK Gambling Commission said showed no link between loot boxes and gambling.

Regardless, Simons said the FTC was "undertaking this project and keeping the committee informed about it," on loot boxes.

The United States has made some push against loot boxes but not to the extend that European countries like Belgium and the Netherlands have. In Belgium, loot boxes are becoming more-and-more restricted while in the US legislation against loot boxes have failed to make it into law.

The controversy which began with EA's Star Wars Battlefront 2 made large impacts on the game industry and is an ongoing discussion as game companies continue to look for new ways to monetize its games.

Thanks, GamesIndustry.biz

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

Related articles

Stardew Valley Just Got Beaches, Fish Tanks, Swimming Ducks, and a Whole Lot More

Nearly five years on, Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone just pushed what he says is Stardew's "biggest update yet."

Alien: Isolation Is Free on Epic and Just As Good as It Was in 2014

Get the motion tracker and don't go in the vents.

Shigeru Miyamoto Expresses Confidence in the Younger Generation of Nintendo

The legendary creator says the spirit will stay alive.

You may also like

Press Start to Continue

A look back on what we tried to accomplish at USgamer, and the work still to be done.

Mat's Farewell | The Truth Has Not Vanished Into Darkness

This isn't the real ending, is it? Can't be.

Eric's Farewell | Off to Find a New Challenger

It's time for us to move on, but we'll carry USG with us wherever we go.