×

Senator Pushes FTC Head for Loot Box Investigation Timeline

Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), who asked the Federal Trade Commission to launch an investigation into video game loot boxes, is now asking the head of the commission for an update on the status of that investigation “as soon as practicable,” a time table, as well as proposed next steps, according to a copy of the letter shared with Variety.

The letter comes about two months after FTC chairman Joseph Simons agreed to investigate video game loot boxes to ensure that children are being protected and parents are educated on the matter.

In the letter sent to Simons on Friday, Hassan reiterated that an FTC investigation is a necessary step to “adequately protect children and other vulnerable people who play video games, as well as to better educate parents and players about the possibility of addiction and other negative behaviors resulting from loot box exposure.” She also said that loot boxes are now “endemic in the video game industry, and are present in everything from casual smartphone games to the newest, high-budget ‘blockbuster’ video game releases.”

“According to some researchers,” she wrote, “loot boxes will represent a $50 billion industry by the year 2022. Children may be particularly susceptible to engaging with these in-game purchases, which trigger the same psychological behavior and reward systems that have been linked with traditional gambling and are often considered integral components of video games.

“The effect of loot boxes on children and consumers is something that I have been worried about for some time, and I appreciate that you share my concern. I have also raised this issue in a letter to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, the self-regulatory ratings arm of the Entertainment Software Association.”

The FTC has begun the initial steps in the investigation, according to the letter.

Last year, in response to the growing concern surrounding loot boxes in video games, the ESRB said it would continue to make enhancements to ensure parents continue to be well-informed as the industry evolves. The group did not directly address what it might do in terms of loot boxes, microtransactions, and ratings.

More Gaming

  • Frank Pearce - Blizzard Entertainment

    Blizzard Co-Founder Frank Pearce Exits After 28 Years

    Frank Pearce, one of the three co-founders of game developer Blizzard Entertainment, is leaving the company. The announcement of Pearce’s exit comes less than a year after president Michael Morhaime, another Blizzard co-founder, left the company. J. Allen Brack, executive producer of “World of Warcraft,” took over the position as president of Blizzard. “The time [...]

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    How 'Fortnite' Fans Can Earn Loot by Watching YouTube Videos

    Epic Games and YouTube have teamed up with a special offer for “Fortnite” players — giving players of the popular battle-royale game rewards when they watch “Fortnite”-premiered content on the video platform. The catch: You have to watch at least 20 minutes of “Fortnite” special content or live esports broadcasts to receive the loot. Under [...]

  • Google Stadia Pro to Include 1

    Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Service to Include Free Monthly Game

    Google has been busy sharing additional details about its upcoming game streaming service Stadia, clearing up some confusion in the process. Stadia’s pro subscription tier, which will cost $10 per month, won’t be a Netflix-type subscription service. However, subscribers will get free games at the rate of about a title per month. That’s according to [...]

  • The Lion King

    'Lion King' VFX Supervisor Rob Legato to Keynote at the 2019 View Conference

    Rob Legato, visual effects supervisor of “The Lion King,” “The Addams Family” co-director Conrad Vernon and Baobab Studios’ co-founder and chief creative officer Eric Darnell, director of the VR studio’s Emmy- and Annie-winning VR short “Crow: The Legend,” are rounding out the keynote speakers at this fall’s 20th edition of the View Conference in Turin, [...]

  • Nintendo Switch

    Nintendo Releases Updated Switch With Better Battery

    Nintendo just refreshed its wildly successful Switch game console, but the company isn’t giving existing Switch owners many reasons to upgrade: The renewed game console comes with a better battery that guarantees up to 9 hours of game play, while otherwise sticking with the same design and features of the original Switch. The new model [...]

  • Spotify logo is presented on a

    U.S. Consumers to Spend $26 Billion on Music, Video Subscriptions This Year

    U.S. consumers are expected to spend a combined $26 billion on music and video subscription services this year, according to new estimates from the Consumer Technology Association. That’s up from $20.4 billion in 2018, and nearly twice the amount spent on such services in 2017. Propelled by the continued success of Apple Music and Spotify, [...]

  • Gears 5 - Xbox Game Studios

    'Gears 5' Will Exclude Smoking Depictions After Concerns Raised by Youth Anti-Tobacco Org (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Gears 5,” the forthcoming installment in the “Gears of Wars” third-person shooter game franchise, will be a smoke-free establishment. The game, set for Sept. 10 release, comes from Xbox Game Studios and game developer The Coalition. The decision to remove all smoking references from “Gears 5” came after not-for-profit anti-smoking organization Truth Initiative approached Turner, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content