Take-Two president weighs in on loot boxes as 'not gambling'

"The whole gambling regulator thing, we don't view that thing as gambling," said Take-Two president Karl Slatoff today during a presentation at a Credit Suisse conference.
"The whole gambling regulator thing, we don't view that thing as gambling. Our view is the same as the ESA statement, for the most part. So that's going to play its course."

- Karl Slatoff, president of Take-Two Interactive.

In the course of speaking about Take-Two Interactive's business at Credit Suisse's 21st Annual Technology, Media and Telecom Conference today, company president Karl Slatoff made it clear the company does not see "loot box" monetization schemes in games as gambling.

It's not a hugely surprising statement given that it directly echoes one made last week by the Entertainment Software Association, the lobbying group which represents big game companies like Nintendo, Microsoft, and Take-Two.

However, it's still a notable rebuff of public concerns voiced by government officials in the US, the UK, and Belgium about the dangers of predatory loot box schemes.

It also may help devs better understand the company's evolving approach to the business of making games, given that Take-Two chief Strauss Zelnick recently told investors Take-Two plans to only release games with "recurrent consumer spending hooks" (read: microtransactions) going forward.

"In terms of the consumer noise you hear in the market right now, for me it's really all about content. It's about over-delivering on content," said Slatoff. "You can't force the consumer to do anything."

Earlier today Kotaku published an interview with a teen who claims to have spent over $10,000 on in-game microtransactions over the past six years, driving him to seek professional help and publish an open letter warning game makers about the dangers unregulated microtransaction opportunities pose to some players.

"These transactions are not as innocent as they really appear to be,” the 19-year-old said. “They can lead you down a path."

Devs curious to hear more from Slatoff about where Take-Two's business is at these days, including his prediction that the entire game industry will eventually move beyond physical retail and be 100 percent digital, can do so via Credit Suisse.

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