Loot Box Systems Are Not Gambling, Says ESRB

ESRB doesn't consider loot crates as gambling

ESRB doesn't consider loot crates as gambling

In the wake of so many gamers raging against the rise of microtransactions and loot boxes, it was only a matter of time before an official body with authority got involved. Love them or hate them, developers are embracing them as another way to generate revenue. You may be throwing real money at loot boxes and you may not be getting what you want from them - potentially tempting you to part with yet more cash - but you are getting something.

Randomness is an inherent aspect of any videogame loot box: Maybe there's something good inside, or maybe you get stuck with something you've already got 16 copies of. A couple of games have put this poor practice in the spotlight recently - igniting a debate on whether loot boxes, especially ones that have the potential to effect gameplay and can be purchased with real money - should be considered gambling. According to the organization, real gambling involves users wagering real cash, while simulated gambling involves virtual cash or currency. Most North American retailers, including Walmart and GameSpot, won't carry AO games, meaning a lot of big games would essentially be banned from sale if the ESRB decided loot boxes constitute gambling. We think of it as a similar principle to collectable card games: sometimes you'll open a pack and get a brand new holographic card you've had your eye on for a while.

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Check out some of the reactions below, including some more trolling from the New York Yankees official twitter handle. Yet, the Yankees can not feel as great about their chances if Judge replicates this clunker of a series.

Dirk Bosmans, from European video game rating organisation PEGI echoes these statements to Eurogamer, saying "Loot crates are now not considered gambling: you always get something when you purchase them, even if it's not what you hoped for".

A spokesperson for the ESRB told Kotaku that loot boxes do not qualify under either category. "But other times you'll end up with a pack of cards you already have". That doesn't mean much in digital environments like Steam, where ESRB ratings are effectively irrelevant, but in the world of regular retail, it's the kiss of death.

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However, three objectors subsequently asked the fast track Commercial Court division of the High Court to review the decision. That appeal was delayed not once but twice, leading some to lose hope that the project would ever proceed.

What do you make of the situation? So isn't the virtuality of an item just serving as a loophole? They inherently prey on the player's need for reward, prompting them to take a chance at instant gratification which can in turn cause addiction in the same way that gambling does, all the while enabling them to spend real money. That said, it is still a controversial issue and I doubt this is the last we will hear of it.

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As of late Tuesday, fire crews had little to no containment on the six major fires burning in Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties. Taken as a group, the fires are already among the 10 deadliest in California history, and the death toll is expected to grow.

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