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Trade group prez: Loot box regulation “challenges our freedom to innovate”

Unlike this ceramic replica, video game loot boxes are not filled with real candy.

As governments around the world enact or consider regulations that would treat randomized video game loot box purchases as gambling, Entertainment Software Association President Michael Gallagher defended loot boxes as just an example of innovative and creative new monetization models his member publishers are trying.

Gallagher made his first extensive public comments on the loot box issue in a speech at the Nordic Game Conference this week (quoted extensively by GamesIndustry.biz). At the event, he said the game industry is “really, really good at… engag[ing] consumers, and build[ing] a business model around our products that is dynamic, exciting and, at the end of the day, profitable… in a way where the gamers are pleased with how we interact with them.” Government regulation of loot boxes, on the other hand, “challenges our industry’s freedom to innovate, and impairs our ability to continuously test new business models, which drive creativity and engagement with our audience.”

Noting that loot box-style mechanisms have existed in games for a long time, Gallagher suggested that gamers can essentially vote on the practice with their wallets; a form of “the consumer telling you if something is right or wrong by their participation… Those that get it right will be rewarded,” he said. “Those that don’t won’t.”