The past few years have seen big changes in gaming as different platforms like mobile have grown in popularity and other aspects such as esports have been able to pull in huge numbers of players and spectators, this period of time has helped launch some of the biggest markets including esports betting where the best can be found here – but esports betting wasn’t always in the familiar form it is now, as it once revolved around an $8 billion cosmetic trading and gambling market with the first big introduction of loot boxes in to modern esports, and perhaps the catalyst to start the argument of whether or not loot boxes were a form of gambling, and what restrictions should be placed on them. But where did the loot box craze in esports start, and how strong are the links between loot boxes and gambling?
(Image from theverge.com)
In terms of gaming, loot boxes have been around since the early 2000’s with features like Gachapon in eastern gaming markets, but in the west things largely got started with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive back in 2013 following an update that brought these loot crates to the game – these crates could either be placed in a player inventory after a match or bought from the existing Steam marketplace, and then a key could be purchased to open the crate to obtain a cosmetic item. The rarer the item, the higher value would be placed on it on the marketplace – but when opening the box, players were met with a rolling ticker and a sound that would very much replicate a slot machine, building the link between the two.
At the time, there was no existing betting market for the game either, so players would take cosmetic items of a certain value and use them to bet and wager on the professional games – from 2013 to 2016 where the skin betting market was the most active, it was suggested the value of the market was around $8 billion, showing just how popular it had become before changes were made in 2016 due to the links to gambling that had started to form.
Since then, there have been big changes in gaming to reduce how much familiarity is drawn between the two, and lawsuits have been drawn against some like EA to change their own loot box mechanics in FIFA, and it is expected that further changes will come as countries like the UK have asked for players to submit their own experiences to draw links too – loot boxes could go through big changes in order to fit in with changing expectations, and hopes that the loot box market will continue to change.