The ESA Pushes Back, Loot Boxes "Are Not Gambling"

The ESA Pushes Back, Loot Boxes "Are Not Gambling"

The video game trade association denies loot boxes are gambling.

After the state of Hawaii and the country Belgium both announced actions against loot boxes, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has issued a statement fighting back against claims that loot boxes are gambling.

In a statement issued to Rolling Stone, the ESA said "Loot boxes are a voluntary feature in certain video games that provide players with another way to obtain virtual items that can be used to enhance their in-game experiences. They are not gambling."

A gold loot box from Overwatch.

The ESA's statement follows a statement put out by the ESRB several weeks ago (the ESRB was founded by the ESA) reiterating much of the same points. That ultimately it is the players who decide to purchase a loot box to enhance their gaming experience.

EA kickstarted a whirlwind of controversy following the release of Star Wars Battlefront 2. Gamers accused the company of promoting unfair practices with its loot boxes, which players accused was almost forcing them to buy loot boxes to play competitively online. EA issued several changes to its loot box system before ultimately announcing that it would temporarily remove them completely from Battlefront 2.

However, the controversy already spread outside of video game press and was picked up by outlets like MSNBC. Amid the fallout, government regulatory agencies like Belgium's Gaming Commission, and state representatives in the U.S. like Hawaii's Chris Lee, announced that loot boxes were either gambling or predatory and would be pursuing actions to have them banned.

You can read the ESA's full statement below:

"Loot boxes are a voluntary feature in certain video games that provide players with another way to obtain virtual items that can be used to enhance their in-game experiences. They are not gambling. Depending on the game design, some loot boxes are earned and others can be purchased. In some games, they have elements that help a player progress through the video game. In others, they are optional features and are not required to progress or succeed in the game. In both cases, the gamer makes the decision."

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.

Read this next

Star Wars Battlefront 2 Will Have Clone Wars Content in 2018

The new content will focus on Star Wars: Episode 2.

EA "Conservative" About Anthem's Launch Forecast

The new IP is being treated as such when the game releases in Q4 2019.

Ewok Hunt is Back in Star Wars Battlefront 2. Outlast the Murder-Bears This Weekend

Battlefront 2's E-E-E-E-E-Ewoks are one big happy happy family again.

More News

Crusader Kings 3 is Happening, And It Has Some Much-Requested Features

The fan favorite strategy series from Paradox is back in a big way.

Humble Monthly Is Getting a Name Change and a Higher Price Point

Humble Monthly will soon be no more, with Humble Choice taking its place.

Final Fantasy 14's Nier: Automata Raid Gets a Release Date and a Ton of New Details

Final Fantasy 14 continues to consume all things Square Enix.