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U.S. Federal Trade Commission to begin investigating loot boxes

From Kingdom Hearts Database
U.S. Federal Trade Commission to begin investigating loot boxes
  • United States government to investigate video game loot boxes
  • News comes as Square Enix prepares to shut down Kingdom Hearts Union in Belgium over the same game mechanic

The United States Federal Trade Commission has announced today that it will begin investigating video game loot boxes at the request of United States Senator Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire.

The request came during a hearing today with FTC chairman Joe Simons. According to Polygon, Senator Hassan noted that loot boxes are in all forms of video games, and that they will "represent a $50 billion industry by the year 2022."

Loot boxes, which are consumable virtual items which can be redeemed for other in-game items and can be acquired during the game or through real-world money, have had a mixed reputation. Some games, such as Electronic Arts's FIFA series, have seen enormous success, while others, such as Electronic Arts's Star Wars Battlefront II, have seen enormous backlash. Critics say loot boxes represent a form of gambling. The Entertainment Software Association, which represents video game publishers on the government level and is the parent organization of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), insists that loot boxes are not a form of gambling because it is voluntary.

The news comes on the heels of news from Square Enix that Kingdom Hearts Union χ would be shutting down in Belgium, as the in-game jewels are loot boxes, which have now been banned in all video games in the country.

While the news doesn't necessarily mean that loot boxes will be banned or that Kingdom Hearts Union χ will be shut down, it definitely could result in legislation or regulations that could negatively affect games like Union χ in the United States and possibly worldwide. We will continue to follow the news and investigation to see what the American regulatory agency finds.

How do you feel about loot boxes: have they enhanced or worsened your experience in games like Kingdom Hearts Union χ? Let us know your thoughts in the discussion section!


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