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Parents Sue Epic Games Over Fortnite Loot Boxes

edit:casino time:2019-03-09

Parents Sue Epic Games Over Fortnite Loot Boxes 9th March 2019 // Industry, Misc, News

Video game loot boxes continue to be a topic of conversation and now a major player in the gaming industry has a legal battle on its hands. Epic Games was recently sued by the parents of a minor who have accused the company of engaging in “predatory” practices with its loot boxes.

Loot Boxes: Gambling or Not?

Loot boxes have become a common vehicle gaming companies have employed over the last several years to both encourage customers to play their games frequently and generate revenue; the latter is particularly the case with free-to-play games. This may not seem like something to write about on a gambling-related news site, but that’s the thing: many people consider loot boxes to be a form of gambling. I am a gamer myself and I am one of those people who feel that loot boxes are gambling. Allow me to explain.

Loot boxes are mystery boxes that can be earned through in-game progression (most often via an experience points/leveling up system) or purchased via a game’s online store for real money or in-game currency that can be bought with real money. Contained within these loot boxes are items to be used in-game. In some games, like Overwatch or the newly popular Apex Legends, the items are purely cosmetic – things like character skins, voice lines, and the like – and do not affect gameplay at all. In other games, like Epic Games’ Fortnite, some items do serve a purpose in the game and can give a player an advantage. Items have varying degrees of rarity; the rarest items are typically the most desired. PokerStars’ Chests are very much like loot boxes, except that you only earn them through playing poker and cannot purchase them individually.

I, along with others, consider loot boxes to be gambling because if you use real money to buy one, you are risking something of real value on something in which the outcome is uncertain in order to win a prize. Now, all loot boxes contain items, so in that sense some – particularly gaming companies – don’t consider them to be gambling, but in practical application, most items have little to no value, either in the game or in real-world terms. Players are buying loot boxes to try to nab the rare items.

As a reminder, every game that I can think of does give out loot boxes just for playing, so buying them is not necessary, but obviously people do buy them. I also have no problem with loot boxes that only contain cosmetic items, as there is no advantage to spending tons of money on them.

Parents: Loot Boxes Prey on the Unknowing Customer

Loot boxes in the game Fortnite take the form of llama pinatas. And they talk.
Image credit: fortnite.wikia.com

The parents who filed the lawsuit against Epic Games are concerned with the loot boxes in the “Save the World” portion of the game. This is the solo/co-op part of game players have to buy, as opposed to the free “Battle Royale” game mode that has swept the planet.

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