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FTC catchbook survey: What's next?



So far, the US Federal Commerce Commission's public involvement in video game boxes has been confined to a single word. At a Congressional Monitoring Committee meeting on Tuesday, FTC Chairman Joe Simons "yes" responded to a request from senator Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) That the organization is looking at and reporting back on lodgings.

So what's up now? And is the FTC likely to give down legitimate restrictions on soldering boxes? These in-game devices give consumers a chance to win in-game items, sometimes in exchange for cash. They have been compared to gambling.

Reached for comment, said an FTC spokeswoman, "we have nothing to add on this point" to Simon's confirmation. However, the Commission has a standard set of procedures that are included when investigating either single companies or entire industries, which provide useful clues for future events.

I spoke to Bill Rothbard, a former FTC lawyer who now specializes in FTC-related work. "They have a lot of different procedures, ways and remedies to pursue an investigation," he said. "If they look at a practice that is industrial, like lure boxes, the law enforcement agencies have to initiate a rule-based procedure."

A rule of procedure is essentially a public meeting where interested parties may present their cases to the FTC. Game business representatives will be required to meet questions from the FTC on ticket boxes. Public interests, consumer groups and campaigns against accident boxes, like those who believe in the exercise, are a gateway to gambling, will set their views, including any research results.

"The FTC would decide if loot boxes are unfair or misleading," explained Rothbard. "If that's the case, it would guarantee that a regulation was issued that would cover the entire industry."

The FTC has the authority to implement rules that have the power of law. In theory, the FTC could call a regulatory procedure and conduct a ban on ticket boxes. However, it is an unlikely scenario.

"There was a time in the late 70's and early 80's when the FTC started a series of procedures against entire industries," said Rothbard. "Children's advertising, tobacco, the funeral industry and real estate, for example. But I can not think of one that covers an entire industry in recent years."

Rothbard said the FTC is less liberal than before and is reluctant to pass new rules for the whole industry.

But an investigation has been promised and will continue. This will probably take the form of letters sent by FTC lawyers to game companies asking for information about their businesses and how loot boxes work.

"They want to know how they market soldering boxes, how they affect their businesses and anything else relevant," said Rothbard.

If the gaming companies are weak to respond, the FTC has the opportunity to send out a civil investigative investigation, which has the power of application, which requires the companies to respond fully.

Game companies are represented at the government level by the trading company Entertainment Software Association. It is likely that ESA will enter and negotiate directly with the FTC, indicating the gaming company's case for ticket boxes. ESA's statement to the media this week gives some clues to its strategy, which complains to a firm denial that lurfelter is linked to gambling.

"Loot Boxer is a way that players can enhance the experience that video games offer," said ESA. "Unlike claims, no wallet is gambling. They have no real value, players always receive something that improves their experience and they are completely optional to buy. They can enhance the experience of those who choose to use them but have no impact on those who do not. "

ESA will also be likely to market forces that have changed the game company's approach to soldering boxes. The year since the release of Star Wars Battlefront 2 which was notorious for the sale of wallets, the companies have moved away from slot boxes. Fortnite -style "season passes." Which gives players the opportunity to earn money that they can find in bulk boxes, is now fashion. They do not carry the negative connotations to lodgers who, despite ESA's gambling denominations, contain a heavy coincidence element.

Today, the International Game Developers Association warned that gaming companies should act, thus avoiding the government's judicial decisions. Legislators in countries such as Japan, Belgium and the Netherlands have indicated a desire to fight the bulk boxes, a move that would be disturbing gaming companies. CEO Jen Maclean demanded measures from the gaming industry, including an obligation to stop marketing packages for children, a disclosure of all opportunities for achievement of awards and an education campaign.

"Do not know to take significant action as an industry and global game developer community to self-regulate how boxers are used," Maclean adds. "We run the very real risk that governments around the world will take this action for us, and perhaps making significant restrictive laws that can affect any random reward items in play. "

In its negotiations with the FTC, ESA could offer one or more of these measures as a last resort but are more likely to seek to win the argument and avoid any form of concession. Meanwhile, consumers have shown their increasing hostility to solder cans, which appear to be a decline. This shift will certainly play the FTC's innate resistance to interference at an industrial level.

"If the gaming industry feels exposure here, they can approach the FTC directly and try to convince them that their concerns about the lootboxes are unfounded and unfounded," said Rothbard. "The best result for them is to engage in a collaborative exchange of information with the FTC and try to get them to see the industry's point of view, and to determine that there is not really a problem here."


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