The ESRB doesn't "consider loot boxes to be gambling"

Loot Box Systems Are Not Gambling Says ESRB

Loot boxes don't count as gambling in the ESRB's books

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), the organization that gives games their age and content ratings in North America, disagrees. If a guarantee of in-game content is what differentiates loot boxes from gambling, what about when you open up a box and find nothing new in it?

It's fast becoming the reality that loot boxes aren't all that it's cracked up to be. After all, if you get nothing but common items in your box that don't fetch your money back on the marketplace, is it not like having a losing spin on a slot machine?

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China, Japan, South Korea and Singapore have all taken action to regulate skin gambling and loot box trading. Simulated gambling is reserved for games that feature betting with no real money involved. But once games start charging real money for small, in-game items and whatnot, things begin to get troubling. But the ESRB says that's not going to happen-because according to a spokesperson, loot boxes don't fit the bill.

The star also called out game developers who do not release their loot box odds, arguing that adults who play such games deserve clarity on the chance of receiving a decent item when they shell out for a loot box.

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Because the player always received something, it was likened to buying collectible cards, where some packs will contain more valuable cards than others.

The most public controversy surround loot boxes are the possibility that its inclusion could diminish gameplay by introducing a harder, more time consuming grinding element or perhaps even offset the balance of multiplayer by introducing a pay-to-win effect. Merriam-Webster Dictionary keeps the definition pretty broad: "To bet on an uncertain outcome". However, that would change if a gambling commission states that loot boxes are, in fact, a form of gambling.

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A glaring issue has been pointed out by the gaming community. The ESRB already has two classifications for wagering in games - "Real Gambling" and "Simulated Gambling". If you don't like 'em, don't buy 'em-and if you keep on buying them, don't be surprised and indignant when publishers keep working them into their games. But it seems that ESRB only counts it as gambling if the players have a chance of not getting anything from the loot box. A system where it's possible to get nothing new or useful for your money sounds like gambling to me.

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