Despite the influx of great games hitting recently, most of the conversation has been dominated by Star Wars Battlefront II’s microtransactions and the debate on whether Loot Boxes should fall into the same category as gambling. And it’s reached further than just internet chatter: the Belgium Gaming Commission is currently in the middle of an investigation into the systems used by games like Battlefront II and Overwatch, and Hawaii state representative Chris Lee has announced that he’s working towards the prohibition of manipulative mechanisms in games.
In the latest episode of The Dive, we talked to psychology professor Ronald Riggio and psychologist Jamie Madigan about the affects gambling has on our minds and the concepts that make us feel better about spending money. We also talked about how these might apply to loot boxes and ask them both whether they feel Battlefront 2 and Overwatch’s systems could constitute gambling. You can watch it for yourself in the video above.
Much has happened during the recent and somewhat ongoing Battlefront 2 fiasco, including the slashing of Hero costs, the temporary removal of microtransactions, and the dropping of EA’s stock. We cover the whole situation extensively in our video titled, “Star Wars Battlefront 2’s Loot Box Controversy Explained.”
Despite the accusations, Battlefront 2 publisher EA has said that its game does not contain gambling, while Overwatch developer Blizzard believes there’s “absolutely nothing wrong” with its loot boxes and doesn’t think its game should be a part of the controversy.