Join date: May 22, 2022


In video games, a loot box is a virtual item which can be redeemed to receive a further randomised virtual item, such as a customisation option for a player’s character or additional weapons and armour Typically, players pay for the loot box itself or receive the box during the game and later buy a ‘key’ to redeem it. Dr David Zendle, lecturer in Computer Science at the University of York, referred to the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee’s definition of loot boxes as “things in video games where you are handing over money and you are getting something uncertain that is determined randomly in some way”.

This definition encompasses not only loot boxes, but also skins, player packs and all other mechanisms by which a player pays money for a randomised item. Skins are virtual items which change the appearance of the player’s character in a game, but have no impact on performance or gameplay. Skins can be purchased with real money, won during the course of playing a game, and are sometimes obtained by opening loot boxes.

As the quality of skins in video games improved over time, demand increased, creating a market for skins as an online currency. Players can now buy and sell skins for real money, as well as using skins as a virtual currency to gamble on other activities, such as professional video gaming, known as eSports. Using skins as a currency to gamble online is considered gambling, and is already regulated by the Gambling Commission under the Gambling Act 2005.

The regulation of skins gambling has no impact on skins in video games, it is still possible for players to purchase skins with real money, obtain them by opening loot boxes, or win them while playing a game. Any reference to skins in this report refers to skins as an element in video games, not skins gambling.



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