Technology

Fortnite to reveal contents of paid loot boxes amid child gambling concerns

Players will find out the items inside loot boxes before they buy them.

Fortnite will now show users the contents of paid loot boxes before they purchase them, following long-running comparisons to gambling.

Loot boxes provided random virtual objects, such as weapons, in the Save The World version of the game, costing £7.99 of the game’s V-bucks currency.

The uncertainty of what may be in the boxes, known in Fortnite as V-Buck Llamas, caused some people to liken the practice to gambling, and led to a petition in 2017 being signed by more than 16,000 people demanding that such practices in video games that target children fall under gambling laws.

The Government responded at the time, saying the Gambling Commission had strong powers to regulate gambling and was monitoring convergence between gambling and video games closely.

X-Ray Llamas
Fortnite V-Buck Llamas will become X-Ray Llamas, showing players the contents before they buy (Epic Games/PA)

A survey of 2,865 children aged between 11 and 16 by the regulator last year found that 31% had paid or used in-game items to open a loot box.

A separate study by experts at the University of York and York St John University previously claimed that spending on in-game loot boxes could be as closely linked with gambling issues as alcohol dependency and drug problems.

The same year, Belgium ruled that loot boxes were in violation of gambling legislation, effectively banning them.

Fortnite’s maker Epic Games has decided to show gamers what is inside the loot boxes before they to purchase.

“Previously known as V-Buck Llamas, X-Ray Llamas will now show you the contents before you purchase it,” the company said in an announcement.

“Not interested in what the Llama offers? Simply wait until the daily store refresh and there will be a new selection.”

The changes will only affect Save The World and not its more-popular Battle Royale counterpart, where the V-Buck Llamas were never available to buy.

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