FTC to Hold Workshop on Video Game Loot Boxes in August

The Federal Trade Commission is holding a public workshop on Aug. 7 to examine the consumer protection issues surrounding video game loot boxes, it announced on Friday.

The workshop is called “Inside the Game: Unlocking the Consumer Issues Surrounding Loot Boxes,” and it will feature industry representatives, consumer advocates, trade associations, academics, and government officials. They will discuss a variety of topics, including the origins and evolution of loot boxes, how they’re being marketed to consumers, and the potential behavioral impact they could have on children.

Loot boxes are in-game treasure chests containing a random assortment of virtual items. Players buy them using virtual currency they earn within the game or by spending real-world money. Some fear they’re too akin to gambling, and countries like Belgium and the Netherlands have already taken legal action against video game publishers who use them, forcing companies like Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard to modify or remove them from their games entirely.

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