The United States' Federal Trade Commission (FTC) agreed to investigate loot boxes last year, and it seems the regulatory agency is following through on that promise now.
After being asked for an update on the investigation by US Senator Maggie Hassan, the FTC responded with a letter (obtained by The Verge) laying out its plans moving forward. For now, those plans will involve a "public workshop."
This workshop should take place sometime during Q2 2019, and it will allow industry representatives, consumer advocacy organizations, parents, and others to show up and give their opinion on the loot box debate. The FTC feels that, for the time being, this is preferable to direct regulation.
"A workshop could provide a forum for stakeholders representing wide-ranging perspectives, including consumer advocacy organizations, parent groups and industry members."
"A workshop could provide a forum for stakeholders representing wide-ranging perspectives, including consumer advocacy organizations, parent groups and industry members," FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in a statement to The Verge. "It also could help elicit information to guide subsequent consumer outreach, which could include consumer alert."
It's not clear what the outcome of this workshop will be. While loot boxes are certainly far from popular among the more vocal portions of the gaming community, it's tough to say how much other groups (such as consumer advocacy organizations) will care about the situation.
Regardless, we'll undoubtedly learn more about the FTC's investigation (including the results of this public forum) later this year.