One of the biggest controversies in the gaming community to arise over recent years is the implementation of loot boxes. The random and paid aspects of such put people off of them and even lead many to believe it is a form of gambling as the recipients are unaware of what they are receiving for their money. Another part of this is the fact that some games tend to gear their loot boxes towards children, which has even cause US Senator Josh Hawley to propose a bill that would target these games. That said, one such game is FIFA, and the packs and loot boxes featured in the title were recently determined to not be gambling by the UK Gambling Commission.
According to BBC, UK Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McCarthur stated that the packs and loot box-like content featured in FIFA are not classified as gambling under the current legislation. "There are other examples of things that look and feel like gambling that legislation tells you are not—[such as] some prize competitions but because they have free play or free entry they are not gambling," McCarthur said. "But they are a lot like a lottery."
As stated above, one of the main issues used to determine loot boxes as gambling is the fact that players can pay real money for them. One way that developers have been able to get around this is by offering them, in addition to the paid versions, at no cost and allowing the boxes to be earned just by playing the game.
It will be interesting to see where loot boxes will be in the years to come. If strict legislation is passed, we just might not be dealing with them for terribly long. However, until something like that pops up, companies will likely be continuing the practice, no matter how unethical some might feel it is.
What are your thoughts on all of this? Do you believe the FIFA packs and loot boxes should be considered gambling? What do you think of the practice of using loot boxes in games in general? Sound off in the comment section below, or feel free to hit me up over on Twitter @anarkE7!