This week the UK Gambling Commission announced that they've joined the growing number of gaming regulators around the world investigating video game lootboxes, which have been compared to gambling.
Lootboxes are virtual products that video game players pay real money or earn in-game, and can award custom skins or other items such as ships. These items are doled out randomly, with rarer goods being harder to come by. Players have no idea what they're getting when they purchase the boxes, but hope that they'll get the best return on investment.
The boxes have come under scrutiny, given the young ages of many players. Many feel that the boxes are akin to gambling, allowing underage players the chance to become addicted, much in the way a slot machine or blackjack table could cause.
The UKGC has joined on with fifteen other gaming regulators with the goal of investigating the boxes and coming up with solutions that will impact the boxes moving forward. The joint group spoke about the boxes, revealing: "We are increasingly concerned with the risks being posed by the blurring of lines between gambling and other forms of digital entertainment such as video gaming."
A UKGC spokesperson added: "Where in-game items that are derived from loot boxes can be readily exchanged for cash, the loot boxes themselves are likely to fall within the definition of gambling. The greater the availability, scale and sophistication of secondary markets where the in-game items can be sold the stronger the case becomes that the in-game items are articles of money or money's worth."
We're keeping our ears to the ground and will update readers as we learn more.