Fortnite boss calls for the end of the loot boxes

Simona Boshkova | Published 20 Feb 2020, 11:43 a.m.

If you read gambling news in the past few months, you’ve probably noticed that loot boxes are one of the most discussed topics in the industry. There has been a lot of pressure on the issue of loot boxes and their removal from video games, and some gaming companies have already banned them. Tim Sweeny, the co-founder of Epic Games, has joined this appeal and said that loot boxes can ‘cause harm’ so that they should be banned from the games. This game development company stands behind Fortnite, one of the most popular video games these days.

Loot boxes are packages in video games which players purchase in order to receive a random selection of virtual items. The whole process is pretty simple, you purchase the loot box and after that, you see what is in it. Given the fact that this is very similar to buying a lottery ticket, certain countries have already classified loot boxes as gambling and placed different restrictions on them. Following these circumstances, the UK Government has also taken several measures to make sure that the children who play video games are protected.

Finding a new way of using loot boxes

Children love playing video games, we all know that. In fact, more than 90% of the children spend up to three hours per day playing video games like Fortnite, Minecraft, Mario Kart, and other similar games. Some of them are aware of the loot boxes and their impact, but some of them are not.

Free-to-download games often encourage players to buy loot boxes which contain different items. Furthermore, there are online marketplaces where players can trade or sell these items. For that reason, many companies are looking for a solution to change the way the loot boxes are used, one of which is the Epic Games.

Epic Games own one of the most successful video games known as Fortnite and thousands of children all over the world spend a lot of hours playing the game. In order to protect children from any kind of gambling issue, Fortnite allows players to see the items included in the loot boxes before purchasing them. However, this is not enough.

Loot boxes put the players and the whole industry at risk

There was a report last year that found that 26% of the 2,000 parents of four to 16-year old children were concerned about the amount of money their children are spending on video games.

During his speech at the Dice Summit in Las Vegas, Tim Sweeney warned the participants that loot boxes and similar practices are putting both players and the whole industry at risk. He asked the participants to ask themselves where they want to be when they grow up. It’s important for the video game companies to decide whether they want to become like Las Vegas with slot machines, or they want to be creators of products that customers can trust. 

As he explained, more and more video game publishers should stay away from the loot boxes because they can cause harm. He added that loot boxes have all aspects of gambling except for the ability to get more money out in the end. Therefore, they have to stay away from creating an experience where the outcome can be influenced by spending money.