ESA chief defends loot boxes, warns against government “over-reaction” | PCGamesN

ESA chief defends loot boxes, warns against government “over-reaction”

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In the wake of increased legal scrutiny over blind loot boxes in games, Entertainment Software Association president Mike Gallagher says the games industry should maintain its right to regulate itself without bending to government pressure.

Speaking at the Nordic Games Conference, Gallagher defended loot boxes as a business practice that allows game publishers to react quickly to the changing marketplace. He mentioned the recent push by governments in Belgium and the Netherlands to regulate loot boxes by classifying them as gambling, which Gallagher said limits the “ability to continuously test new business models, which drive creativity and engagement with our audience.”

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Gallagher was adamant that loot boxes are not gambling, because the goods found in them can’t be “withdrawn” as real-world cash, at least not by means of game clients on their own. But Belgian authorities disagree.

In April, the Belgian Gaming Commission ruled that Overwatch, FIFA 18, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive all ran afoul of the country’s gambling laws. The Dutch Gambling Authority, meanwhile, has given games an eight-week deadline to make changes to their loot boxes or face fines. Holland’s regulators would like to see European Union-wide rules governing loot boxes.

However, Gallagher pointed out, the American ESRB and New Zealand’s gambling authority have both ruled that blind loot boxes do not constitute gambling.

Gallagher told that industry leaders need to work to educate policy makers on existing tools available to protect minors and players in general from predatory practices. Companies that do the right thing, he says, will be rewarded with increased business, while those that engage in predatory or questionable practices will be punished by the market.

“Let’s inform first, continue to self-regulate, and move ahead that way,” Gallagher said. “It’s worked great for us over the last 20 years.”

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yasirahmed76 avatarllubtoille avatarBraneman avatarTsunamiWombat avatarrecall2000 avatar
yasirahmed76 Avatar
3 Weeks ago

What a load of complete BS, these industries have been trying to syphon Money out of their fanbase for a really long time and when they get caught they try to play the "nice guys". The loot boxes were never meant to give a player a good experience, they were only designed to syphon as much Money as possible out of the player like a slot machine. Nobody is in favor of it, loot boxes only destroy games when they're implemented in them. The ONLY ones who are in favor of it is the gaming industry, the gaming Community is totally against it. Who wants a slot machine builded in their video games?? NOT ME!!

TsunamiWombat Avatar
3 Weeks ago

Man making lots of money off of thing defends thing: "I like thing, it makes me lots of money!". In other news, water is wet, and the sun will be rising in the east today.

Braneman Avatar
3 Weeks ago

You shouldn't trust game companies or almost anybody connected to them to tell you if loot boxes are good. That's like asking Florida's Natural Orange Juices if you should drink orange juice, they will say yes and they will fight you because you buying orange juice is their living. Except here they've found a loopholes the size of the internet where the law says it's ok to financially screw over minors and vulnerable people with gambling in all but name.

They will fight tooth and nail for this any way they can because this is the most lucrative thing they've found to do in video games since the first commercial video game was sold.

llubtoille Avatar
3 Weeks ago

That's... not how the market works - see cigarettes & alcohol.

recall2000 Avatar
3 Weeks ago

This is exactly the same as the NRA sticking up for gun use. They're never going to oppose what puts food on their tables. Lobby groups should not be able to have any influence. Sadly, as we all know, money talks.

"Let’s inform first"...erm....we're already informed, informed about what greedy c**ts the likes of EA are. That won't change without outside regulation. Self-regulation is not going to work.