What are loot boxes? FTC will investigate $30B video game industry

Games such as "Overwatch" include paid “loot boxes” that some psychologists have called a form of gambling.

A growing backlash against video game “loot boxes” — in which players pay for the chance to win digital goods — has gained a major new backer: the Federal Trade Commission.

The commission's chairman, Joe Simons, said during a congressional oversight hearing on Tuesday that the regulator would look into the in-game loot boxes, a response that came after Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., sent a letter to the Entertainment and Software Ratings Board (ESRB) asking it to investigate loot box practices.

“The prevalence of in-game micro-transactions, often referred to as ‘loot boxes,’ raises several concerns surrounding the use of psychological principles and enticing mechanics that closely mirror those often found in casinos and games of chance,” Hassan wrote in the letter.

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