I’m honestly impressed that the FTC decided to investigate this. And I’ve been impressed at the market shift in the now year and a half that’s passed since I wrote this. I could never have predicted the Battlefront II situation. I think that gave a lot of folks pause. If I were writing this article now, it’d be a bit different.
I’d be totally fine with a rating label that indicated loot boxes were present in a game, and a mandatory M-rating or other similar parental lock. I think the consoles could also probably have stronger age gating on purchases/child accounts, rather than the all-or-nothing approach of current age restriction systems.
Unfortunately, I think the new tactics that I feared in my article have already reared their ugly heads. (Ugly is a matter of perspective). Fortnite has made a great go of a premium subscription model on top of its cash store, and many AAA games now use a $100 price point instead of the $60 standard. And that $100 price, while supposedly for the “most premium” edition, doesn’t even always include all the purchases that you can make.
It seems like companies are moving back to a more “traditional” micro-purchase model that doesn’t have that element of randomization. It remains to be seen whether that’s a good thing or just differently exploitative. I know I’ve been tempted several times to spend more on a game to get it earlier or to get the “complete” version. For me, those sorts of things have more pull than a cheap/free loot box.