The games megacorporation behind 2K and Rockstar has thrown its two cents in on the loot crate gambling controversy.
Speaking at the Credit Suisse 21st Annual Technology, Media and Telecom Conference – as reported by GamaSutra – president Karl Slatoff said the company does not view loot boxes are gambling.
"The whole gambling regulator thing, we don't view that sort of thing as gambling. Our view of it is the same as the ESA statement for the most part," Slatoff said.
"That's going to play its course, but in terms of the consumer and the noise you hear in the market right now, it's all about content. It's about overdelivering on content and making sure you're focused on engagement. That has been our strategy and where we're focused, and as long as you keep your eye on that ball, you're going to be OK. The consumer's going to be really happy with what they get."
He continued: "You can't force the consumer to do anything. You try to do your best to create the best experience you possibly can to drive engagement. And driving engagement creates value in entertainment. That's just how it's always been and always will be."
That the company's stance on the matter is the same as the ESA's isn't wholly surprising given that Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick is also the chair of that body's board of directors.
In its most recent earnings call, the company announced its intention to have microtransactions in all of its games moving forwards. They have been especially effective in Grand Theft Auto Online, consistently beating Take-Two's own expectations. Thus, it makes sense for them to pursue this plan.
The argument that you 'cannot force the consumer to do anything' is a bit weak, however, given how demonstrably manipulative loot crates have been proven to be in the past.
Meanwhile Belgium has deemed that loot crates are gambling and is pushing for legislation, with Hawaii looking to do the same. The British Gambling Commission has voiced concerns about the 'blurred lines' between gambling and video games and the Netherlands is looking into the matter.