The presence of gambling in video games has been a hot-button issue among both members of the gaming industry and the world at large in recent years. Many have criticized gaming companies like Epic Games and EA for the inclusion of loot boxes, with EA’s FIFA franchise particularly coming under fire for its Ultimate Team game mode. The overwhelming presence of gambling in gaming has even spread to platforms like Twitch, where gambling games and streams have become a popular category on the platform. Now, one of Twitch’s biggest creators is looking to take action against the trend.
Throughout his time as one of Twitch’s top talents, Asmongold has been staunchly opposed to loot boxes and other similar gambling elements in games. Asmongold has previously stated he would not play Genshin Impact due to the game’s monetization model and criticized popular MMORPG Lost Ark for similar reasons. The scrutiny between loot boxes and gambling has even led countries like the Netherlands and Belgium to ban microtransactions in games. In a recent stream, Asmongold revealed he is taking steps to get the United States government involved with the issue.
During his Twitch stream on Sunday, Asmongold revealed that he recently attempted to “make contact with Ted Cruz’s office,” referring to the well-known U.S. senator from Texas. While Asmongold was quick to point out that nothing may come of the attempt, the streamer was hopeful about the chance to discuss gambling in games with the senator. He believed the argument may benefit from the state’s heavily Republican background, referring to loot boxes as “indoctrinating kids into gambling.”
Asmongold’s push to involve the U.S. government comes as the newest in a recent trend that has seen many governments worldwide taking action against the gambling mechanics. Alongside the previously mentioned Dutch and Belgian governments, Brazil was reportedly considering banning loot boxes early last year. EA was also the subject of a 2020 class-action lawsuit in Canada over loot boxes in the Madden NFL and NHL franchises. Mobile games have also come under fire for the inclusion of “gacha” mechanics, with Genshin Impact and Raid: Shadow Legends among the most notable.
While world governments have begun to take action against loot boxes, the resulting push has seen some developers shy away from the monetization model. Blizzard has been rumored to be removing loot boxes for Overwatch 2‘s release, and Halo Infinite also notably saw loot boxes absent. While developers like EA will continue to argue against loot boxes as gambling, the growing stigma against loot boxes will likely see more creators and governments taking a stand against them.