One consumer has spoken out about the addictive nature of loot boxes within video games.
A Reddit user under the name of Kensgold released an open letter on the Star Wars Battlefront 2 subreddit to publishers including EA, saying he was addicted to purchasing in-game items in video games.
Kotaku has been successful in verifying the user's claims, but says they want to be kept anonymous.
Kensgold writes that he spends in the region of $10,000 each and every year on in-game purchases in titles such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Smite and The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth in the last three years.
This addictive behaviour started with a browser city-building game not dissimilar to Clash of Clans. It then moved to Kingdoms of Middle-earth, a game notorious for forcing users to grind for progression, thus encouraging spending.
"Let me show you how far my addiction to this went," Kensgold said.
"In the beginning I began playing an game on my phone. It was a normal city builder clone. The goal of the game was open ended. It started off fine, but slowly changed to favor those who purchased large quantities of their equivalent to credits.(now refereed to as credits to keep things simple)The game progressed and I found that keeping up with the other players was becoming harder and harder. The majority of my guild mates were well off adults who could afford to cash out a couple hundred ever two weeks or so. I began to spend some of the money I had saved over my early years in an attempt to keep up with my friends. At first it was 10 bucks every other week. Then the game shifted again. They introduced the premium token chest. It had better gear for your heroes, new and better heroes, resources, experience ,ect. Boosts you name it they had it. I turned 15 and I ran out of my savings. My mother is furious. I think shes just being a bitch(I feel like shit for that time). I am 15 I am struggling with my faith as a christian. I was never taught the critical thinking skills to doubt articles I read or to find sources. I am looking around and seeing the world and I don't like what I see."
They continued: "Now in the last two years I have spent an estimated $10407 on transactions that fell into my filter of media groups alone. Then I found Counter Strike Global Offensive(CS:GO) Lets take a look at my spend on cs:go crates If you go to your steam inventory and click on a trading card you can "view badge progress", then on the top right click "how do I earn card drops." This menu tells you how much money you need to spend on in game purchases to earn another trading card. Which is a cool way of seeing how much money you have spent on opening crates."
The post goes on: "I was lucky. Others like me wont be. They will fail out of school. They will use their parents credit cards, causing massive interest and CC debit. They wont have a mother/accountant to teach how to manage their money if they recover. So please take a moment to reflect on my story. You are building a game from The Star Wars universe. There will be kids playing. They will learn to love the rush of getting a good card out of a loot box. So please again take a moment to reflect. There are no laws in place to protect the youth of our nation and others like it. I was one of the many who was hurt because of That. Help me prevent it from happening to the next generation, give them the chance I never had. Say no to unregulated Micro-Transactions. If you don't have the authority please find some one who does. Tell them about people like me and ask them for their help."
This follows a conversation about the line between gambling and in-game purchases in popular titles. Star Wars Battlefront 2 has been at the centre of this, with EA insisting that loot crates aren't gambling. Take-Two has also said they are not, while Blizzard insists its team shooter Overwatch – which employs loot crates – should not be part of this conversation.
Meanwhile, Hawaii's state representative is saying he is pursuing legislation on the matter – as is Belgium – which the UK's Gambling Commission has voiced concerns over the blurring lines between gambling and video games.