ESRB Doesn’t Think That Loot Boxes Are A Form Of Gambling

The Entertainment Software Rating Board says that the practice of selling random chance loot boxes inside a game doesn’t equate to gambling. The board explained that loot boxes in games such as Overwatch and Shadow of War do not constitute digital gambling since players are guaranteed to get in-game content for every single purchase.

overwatch lootbox

“ESRB does not consider loot boxes to be gambling. While there’s an element of chance in these mechanics, the player is always guaranteed to receive in-game content (even if the player unfortunately receives something they don’t want),” an ESRB representative told Kotaku. “We think of it as a similar principle to collectible card games: Sometimes you’ll open a pack and get a brand new holographic card you’ve had your eye on for a while. But other times you’ll end up with a pack of cards you already have.”

If a game is deemed to incorporate real gambling, then the organization will leave an Adults Only rating on the box which can disqualify it from being sold at some major retailers.

The ESRB’s argument may not sit well with those who believe that loot boxes are designed in the same fashion as slot machines or craps tables. Many games coming this fall, including Shadow of War, Destiny 2, and the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront II, feature systems in which you can spend real money to get randomized gear in the form of loot boxes.

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