The ESA Responds To Hawaii's Proposed Loot Box Regulation

Loot Box
(Image credit: Microsoft)

The talk about regulating premium loot boxes in paid video games continues to gain a lot of attention and talk among lawmakers and policy pushers. The latest developments saw a U.S. Senator getting involved and requesting that the FTC to investigate, along with Hawaiian lawmakers moving to get regulations in place. Well, the ESA has responded to one of the proposed regulations put forward by a Hawaiian representative.

According to, the Entertainment Software Association has responded to an inquiry about new steps in legislation being taken to address loot boxes and certain lawmakers pushing the ESRB to update the ratings to better reflect the current state of loot boxes and the potentiality of gambling in premium priced games containing paid loot boxes. The ESA spokesperson stated...

As an industry, we take our responsibility to consumers very seriously and continually work to create greater awareness and transparency about the wide range of in-game experiences. We strongly believe that the industry's robust, self-regulatory efforts remain the most effective way to address these important issues, and that system has a proven and long record of doing so. Some consumers and parents may have questions about how loot boxes work, and ESA has demonstrated a commitment to providing information to guide consumers, especially parents, in their purchase decisions.

This comes on the heels of a U.S. Senator holding a meeting with four members of the Federal Trade Commission and requesting that a thorough investigation take place in order to determine if AAA games like Forza Motorsport 7 and Star Wars: Battlefront II that contain premium loot boxes are committing predatory practices. The committee for the FTC gave a unanimous "Yes!" to an investigation into loot boxes.

The Senator also reached out to the ESRB in hopes of getting the self-regulated body to examine adding warnings to the packages of video games that contain loot boxes in order to give parents the necessary information about the potential dangers of loot boxes, or at least information on what it means if a game does contain premium loot boxes.

The ESRB responded much in the same way as the Entertainment Software Association, saying that steps would be taken to look into the issue and that it has done its part in informing parents about content contained within video games.

However, it may not matter what the ESA or the ESRB say, given that Hawaiian state representative Chris Lee has spearheaded bills for legislation at the House and Senate level, both of which will introduce stricter regulation on video games that contain premium loot boxes. The bills would enforce disclosures by publishers and ratings boards to inform parents if a game contains randomized rewards or virtual items that can be acquired through randomized rewards for an exchange of real money. Additionally, the bills would prohibit the sale of these games to anyone under the age of 21, as loot boxes in premium games would be classified as gambling.

Prior to the legislation efforts, the ESRB, PEGI and UKIE were given opportunities to address loot boxes, but PEGI and UKIE deferred to the U.K.'s gambling commission while the ESRB adamantly denied that premium loot boxes were classified as gambling.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.