The US Federal Trade Commission has agreed to conduct an investigation on loot boxes found in recent Video Games, according to Chairman Joseph Simmons. The decision of the FTC was the result of growing concerns over possible gambling addiction caused by this type of monetization.

A report by PC Gamer states that during a Congressional meeting with a Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday (November 27), FTC Chairman Simmons had accepted a request from Senator Maggie Hassan to begin investigations on potential unregulated gambling associated with loot boxes in video games.

An anti-gambling initiative

“It’s time for the FTC to investigate these mechanisms to ensure that children are being adequately protected,” stated Hassan. “And to educate parents about potential addiction and other negative impacts of these games."

Previously, Hassan had issued a query to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board about how loot boxes are rated. However, the group which is also responsible for the ESRB rating system refused to follow through with her request, claiming it would interfere with the market research that the industry relied upon. The response only fueled Hassan's efforts toward loot box regulation, prompting her to reach out to the FTC for aid.

An already controversial practice

In the current industry's landscape, several triple-A game companies have been utilizing microtransactions in video games as an upselling ploy. This has undoubtedly increased annual profits. However, it is also recognized as a highly controversial practice, coming under fire by droves of consumers and even governments.

Electronic Arts, the publisher of several highly recognizable franchises in gaming, including the likes of "FIFA," "Need for Speed," "Star Wars: Battlefront," and many more, have especially come under fire for saturated their titles with loot boxes. EA recently commented on the Star Wars microtransactions.

EA's controversial monetization tactics would eventually gain the attention of certain branches of government.

In November 2017, the Belgian Gaming Committee responded to the controversy by launching an investigation into EA's loot boxes for potential gambling and a possible harmful impact on minors. Later, in September, the publisher was placed under another investigation, by the same commission for refusing to remove loot boxes from its sports title, "FIFA 19," after the committee ruled that loot boxes would be banned from the Belgian market.