One argument that we've seen spring up numerous times, especially over the last few weeks, is that loot boxes are essentially a form of gambling - and more should be done to regulate them in video games.
The most public controversy surround loot boxes are the possibility that its inclusion could diminish gameplay by introducing a harder, more time consuming grinding element or perhaps even offset the balance of multiplayer by introducing a pay-to-win effect.
Games which are rated for teens and younger children often include an option to pay real money for the chance to win in-game items, and this very modern form of monetizing additional content is falling through a regulation gap in the USA and Europe.
KitGuru Says: So many issues surround the idea of loot boxes, which makes me wonder why anyone would support them in the first place. We think of it as a similar principle to collectable card games: sometimes you'll open a pack and get a brand new holographic card you've had your eye on for a while. However, some operators such as Blizzard and Riot have moved to offer loot boxes purchased with in-game virtual currency, not real money, to avoid falling foul of trading and betting laws.
A spokesperson for the ESRB told Kotaku that loot boxes do not qualify under either category.
Because the player always received something, it was likened to buying collectible cards, where some packs will contain more valuable cards than others. If you don't like 'em, don't buy 'em-and if you keep on buying them, don't be surprised and indignant when publishers keep working them into their games. And it's true that players can participate in these loot boxes similar to Hearthstone's card packs without spending a penny of real-world cash. But it seems that ESRB only counts it as gambling if the players have a chance of not getting anything from the loot box. I was rolling the dice with my money, relying on fickle fortune to score that Ralph McQuarrie concept art card I so desperately wanted (and, by the way, never got), and yes, by some measures that is awfully close to sinking money into scratch-off cards in hopes of the big payout. That's not quite the same as the guy who just funnelled his life savings into a slot machine.
ESRB does have a label for in-game purchases, but with optional downloadable content on almost every game that's hitting the market these days, that covers nearly every modern game.
The UK is now considering regulation of skin gambling and loot boxes, with a review by the UK Gambling Commission ongoing as of August 2017.