"Right Now We Don't Have Any One Group Taking an Unbiased View on Loot Crates"

"Right Now We Don't Have Any One Group Taking an Unbiased View on Loot Crates"

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | For an industry that swears it doesn't have a problem with exploitative monetization, gaming sure talks a lot about exploitative monetization

Loot box legislation is coming, America. Well, maybe. Senator Josh Hawley has said he'll be introducing it soon, and given everything we've seen in recent years, I'm convinced the industry has sealed its own fate on the issue. Regardless of whether loot box laws come to pass, attitudes across the industry are differing and even diverging.

This week we heard from a developer who used to have loot boxes in his game calling for trade groups to intervene, one trade group welcoming government scrutiny of loot box practices, and (sadly) the ESA continuing to jam its fingers in its ears and yell hoping people stop talking about it before it runs out of breath. Kind of a shame the largest and most influential of those parties is the one determined to not do anything.

Jesse Houston, co-founder and CEO at Dauntless developer Phoenix Labs, thinks industry trade groups should take on a more active role policing loot boxes. | Phoenix Labs

QUOTE | "Right now we don't have any one group taking an unbiased view on loot crates or other game mechanics that should be meant for adult players." - Dauntless developer Jesse Houston doesn't trust developers and publishers to police themselves on loot boxes, and wants industry trade groups like the ESA and PEGI to take a more active role.

QUOTE | "Speaking on behalf of the industry, we welcome this initiative." - Per Strömbäck, spokesperson of Swedish game industry trade group Dataspelsbranschen, applauds the government's recent move to review consumer protection measures around loot boxes.

QUOTE | "We always look for opportunities and have taken the opportunities to share with Senator Hawley and others about the great work we already provide. And as they learn more, they see our industry understands its responsibility to consumers and takes it seriously." - The ESA's new CEO and president Stanley Pierre-Louis suggests the industry doesn't need to change a thing about how it handles loot boxes because critics are simply ignorant about how game companies are already on top of all this.

QUOTE | "That classification does not imply that gaming disorder exists." - Pierre-Louis in that same interview, offering a novel take on the World Health Organization adding gaming disorders to its International Compendium of Diseases database.

QUOTE | "There have been diversity and inclusion initiatives in tech and gaming for decades, and those initiatives generally focus on hiring and recruitment. Those programs are absolutely successful and they have metrics to show that, yes, if you show up in the place where people are and come to them on their terms, you can successfully recruit them into the industry. But what we've found is that they don't stay." - Microsoft Gaming for Everyone senior community program manager Benjamin Williams notes that getting marginalized people into the industry doesn't help much if the industry pushes them right back out.

QUOTE | "Ultimately, given the complexities of ongoing litigation, we will not change our employee agreements while in active litigation. We know not everyone agrees with this decision, but we also know everyone does want Riot to continue to improve." - Riot Games says that despite an employee walkout, it will still enforce mandatory arbitration agreements signed by employees who are now suing it for discrimination.

QUOTE | "Hate speech, threats, and bigotry have no place in the LCS. We have directed Echo Fox to take appropriate corrective action within 60 days." - Riot Games' League of Legends Championship Series commissioner Chris Greely explains what the company won't stand for in directing a pro team to disassociate itself from a racist shareholder or presumably risk being kicked out of the league.

QUOTE | "I believe that our joint development of future cloud solutions will contribute greatly to the advancement of interactive content. Additionally, I hope that in the areas of semiconductors and AI, leveraging each company's cutting-edge technology in a mutually complementary way will lead to the creation of new value for society." - Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida discusses the company's new partnership with Microsoft on AI and cloud tech.

QUOTE | "Since there seems to be confusion -- No Re-Logic title will ever be an Epic Store exclusive. There is no amount of money we could be offered to sell our souls." - Re-Logic vice president Whitney Spinks talks about the idea of withholding a Steam release of a game for a few months.

QUOTE | "I think having no competitor isn't healthy at all. When we had competitors in the wrestling space, we were determined not to lose and that was a great motivator for creating something great." Yuke's senior VP Hiromi Furuta explains why the WWE 2K developer is establishing a new team within the studio to create a new wrestling franchise.

QUOTE | "I think that came from investors, or some companies, thinking about this business as though it's a SaaS [Software-as-a-Service] business, with an inextricably upward sloping curve in terms of results. And of course we're an entertainment business, which means that results will be driven by the quality of our release schedule." - Take-Two chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick offers an explanation as to why stocks in a number of video game publishers fell off significantly earlier this year.

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Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined GamesIndustry International in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at CBS-owned GameSpot in the US.

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