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FTC to Hold Public Workshop on Video Game Loot Boxes

The US Federal Trade Commission announced recently that it will hold a public workshop on August 7, 2019, to examine consumer protection issues related to video game “loot boxes.”

“Loot boxes” are virtual prize packages that may be purchased in mobile games where the player is unaware of what virtual items are inside the package until following the purchase. Loot boxes have attracted scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers in recent years as concerns have arisen that some loot boxes may be misleading or deceptive to consumers, particularly young consumers, or that they may violate state lottery laws.

The workshop, entitled “Inside the Game: Unlocking the Consumer Issues Surrounding Loot Boxes,” will examine topics such as:

  • The in-game transaction landscape, including the origins and evolution of loot boxes and their role in game play and the digital marketplace;
  • Research examining consumer behavior, including child and adolescent behavior, in the context of video games and digital transactions; and
  • A discussion of consumer awareness and education about in-game digital transactions, including the mechanics, marketing, and financial commitments associated with loot boxes.

Arent Fox’s Privacy, Cybersecurity & Data Protection group will closely monitoring legislative and regulatory activity related to loot boxes and will be in attendance at the FTC's public workshop.

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