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Ethics of Lootboxes in Games

Ethical Implications of Video Game Lootboxes

Video game lootboxes, also known as "Microtransactions" are virtual items that can be purchased or obtained in video games. These boxes contain a random assortment of in-game items, such as characters, weapons, or virtual currency, which can be used to improve the player's experience or progress in the game. While lootboxes are a popular feature in many video games, they have also been the subject of controversy due to concerns about their potential impact on players, particularly children.


One concern about lootboxes is their potential to exploit players, particularly children. Lootboxes often use various tactics, such as limited-time offers and the promise of rare or valuable items, to encourage players to spend money on them. This can lead to players spending significant amounts of money on lootboxes in an attempt to obtain certain items, leading to potential financial harm.

Another concern is the potential for lootboxes to promote gambling-like behavior in players. The randomized nature of lootboxes, combined with the ability to purchase them with real money, can create a sense of uncertainty and anticipation similar to gambling. This can lead to players becoming addicted to lootboxes and spending excessive amounts of money on them.

Additionally, lootboxes can contribute to an uneven playing field in video games. Players who spend money on lootboxes may have an advantage over those who do not, leading to a lack of fairness in the game. This can lead to a negative player experience and a sense of frustration for those who are unable to afford or obtain certain items.


Video game lootboxes present a number of ethical concerns, including the potential to exploit players, promote gambling-like behavior, and create an uneven playing field. These issues highlight the need for careful consideration and regulation of lootboxes in the video game industry.