U.S. Federal Trade Commission chairman Joseph Simmons announced today that he will investigate the issue of loot boxes within video games to ensure that children are being protected and parents are educated on the matter.
Simmons testified Tuesday before a Senate Commerce Subcommittee where senators asked Simmons questions on various topics. Senator Maggie Hassan brought up the issue of loot boxes and asked the FTC to launch the investigation and Simmons confirmed he would.
Hassan sent a letter earlier this year to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) asking them to review the ratings process relates to loot boxes, examine its marketing to children, and put together a best practices guide for developers around microtransactions.
The senator at the time said if they didn’t take sufficient action she would ask the FTC to get involved. They obviously haven’t so she has and now they are. As she says in her statement, “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 are often considered integral components of video games.”
The comments follow on from various countries preparing plans to heavier regulate loot boxes and microtransactions within games.