ESRB Says Loot Boxes Aren't Gambling
Loot boxes are making their way into some of the biggest AAA this holiday season, including Destiny 2, Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, and Starwars Battlefront II. Although some people enjoy them, others see them as a predatory way to squeeze more money from customers, and they're now calling on the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) to classify them as gambling. That's not going to happen, an ESRB spokesperson tells Kotaku.
"ESRB does not consider loot boxes to be gambling," the ESRB says. "While there's an element of chance in these mechanics, the player is always guaranteed to receive in-game content (even if the player unfortunately receives something they don't want). We think of it as a similar principle to collectible card games: Sometimes you'll open a pack and get a brand new holographic card you've had your eye on for a while. But other times you'll end up with a pack of cards you already have."
The ESRB also points out to Kotaku that it does add the "Digital Purchases" category to any digital game that allows you to buy additional content.