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The FTC is holding a public workshop in August to discuss loot boxes

The FTC is holding a public workshop in August to discuss loot boxes

April 5, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon

The Federal Trade Commission has set a date for the first leg of its loot box investigation, a public workshop that looks to host a discussion between industry representatives, consumer advocates, trade associations, academics, and government officials on the monetization practice. 

That event will be held on August 7 at the Constitution Center in Washington DC, and also streamed online. 

The workshop aims to cover a bit more than just a blanket discussion on loot boxes, however. The FTC notes that it wants to cover topics like the origins, evolutions, and role of loot boxes in the digital marketplace, research that examines consumer behavior in the context of video games and digital transactions, and consumer awareness and education about the mechanics, marketing, and financial commitments associated with loot boxes.

In the lead-up to the workshop, the FTC is still looking to solicit input from members of the public on potential workshop topics and participants through June 7.

The FTC is only the latest government body to call for a closer look at how loot boxes are used in video games, though the commission’s first step is already milder than some taken by other regulators outside of the United States that range from fining companies for deceptive loot box practices to outright finding loot boxes unlawful.

This has led to game companies altering how loot boxes and other in-game store elements function in those regions, such as EA’s changes to FIFA’s in-game currency in Belgium or Valve’s multiple changes to Dota 2 and CS:GO in the Netherlands.

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