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OpenCritic and TotalBiscuit respond to loot box controversy

OpenCritic and TotalBiscuit respond to loot box controversy

Elements of the games industry have lashed out against the proliferation of loot boxes within games.

Review aggregator site OpenCritic has said it will be marking titles that contain loot boxes with a special badge, with the mind of providing more information about a project’s business model over time.

“We’re going to take a stand against loot boxes. We’re looking into ways to add business model information to OpenCritic,” the company said at the start of a thread as to how it will be representing this information.

Meanwhile, controversial C games-focused YouTuber Totalbiscuit has called for rating board ESRB to take action against this content within games, saying that the psychological manipulation inherent within a loot box business model is predatory and something that such bodies need to catch up on, especially for titles with lower age ratings. 

"Frankly I would argue that the ESRB needs to step in here," he said. "[The US government] should be saying: 'Look if you include these kinds of mechanics in these games and you actually allow people to buy these packs for real money, these random blind packs and engage in what is essentially a form of gambling, then you should be jacking the rating of your game up to Mature,” the personality said, as reported by GamesIndustry.biz.

"The fact that [Star Wars] Battlefield II is going to be Teen rated and yet has an in-game real money gambling system blows my mind. How are they possibly getting away with that? Well, the answer is that the US government and legislation hasn't caught up with it yet."

Loot boxes within games have come to the fore of games discourse recently due to them being included in Middle-earth: Shadow of War. They have long been a part of games, with multiplayer projects like Overwatch offering loot boxes with cosmetic changes for in game XP points, with the option to purchase them. Shadow of War's inclusion of them drew criticism as it's a single player title. 


Editor - PC Games Insider

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he was hired to launch PCGamesInsider.biz for Steel Media before departing the firm in October 2019.

He has also written for GamesIndustry.biz, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.

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