Red Dead, Grand Theft Auto Publisher Doesn’t View Loot Boxes as Gambling
By Anthony Taormina | Dec 1, 2017This is not good news for gaming. If Rockstar does this to RDR2... I won't buy it!
In the ongoing debate over whether loot boxes are considered gambling and thus the game’s that contain them should be rated higher or regulated, every developer, publisher, and legislative body seems to be weighing in. This week, Rockstar Games’ parent company Take-Two Interactive put its two cents out into the ether, agreeing with the Entertainment Software Association.
While speaking at the Credit Suisse 21st Annual Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference, Take-Two Interactive President Karl Slatoff said that the company does not view loot boxes as gambling. “We don’t view that thing as gambling. Our view of it is the same as the ESA statement for the most part; so [potential legislation is] going to play its course.”
Though Slatoff doesn’t view loot boxes as gambling, he does acknowledge that state and federal legislation will ultimately determine whether the randomized reward system is. Loot boxes have been a part of many games for a while now, but only recently, after the controversy surrounding Star Wars Battlefront 2, did legislative bodies really start to get involved.
Given that Take-Two already discussed the idea of adding “recurrent spending” to all of its future games, Slatoff’s comments about loot boxes are not surprising. The publisher sees microtransaction revenue on the rise and wants to leverage its properties to generate as much profit as possible.
Red Dead publisher Take-Two digital games industry
The company has done well thus far with monetizing its games, with Grand Theft Auto Online continuing to generate heaps of money for Rockstar and Take-Two. Last quarter, for example, the game raked in $418.2 million. Mind you, Grand Theft Auto 5 released in 2013 and yet the game continues to shatter records and its multiplayer experience can sustain years without any releases.
That is all to say Take-Two Interactive is already posting huge profits without including loot boxes in its Rockstar-developed games, but it soon will. There is little doubt that Red Dead Redemption 2 will have an online multiplayer component and now it seems very likely that loot boxes will play a part in that experience. Presumably, Rockstar will go the cosmetic route like Overwatch and let players open loot boxes that customize the look of their outlaw (hat, boots, six shooter, etc.) without directly impacting the experience.
That being said, if RDR 2’s multiplayer is more PvE-focused then there could be some pay-to-win elements to the microtransactions
. Grand Theft Auto Online lets players pick up items using real currency.