According to a new study from Juniper Research, it’s been forecast that loot boxes and skins gambling will reach a spend of $50 billion (£35.265 billion) by 2022. This number is up massively from this year’s $30 billion (£21.159 billion).
Loot boxes are in-game packs that hold random items, and skins are effectively in-game cosmetics that either affects the appearing of characters or weapons.
Lauren Foye, Research author elaborated on the market: “Skins are acquired both through playing video games and from opening purchased loot boxes. These items have value depending on rarity and popularity within game communities. On PCs, skins are traded for real money via Steam’s ‘Marketplace’; the platform has 125 million registered users globally.”
Steam has attempted to squash concerns surrounding skins gambling – in which the items are fundamentally used as virtual currency for betting – in the past. For years, third-party websites have allowed users to bet in-game skins to cash in for real money. It’s worth noting that Steam makes money from transaction fees when its marketplace is used, which could be part of the reason as to why this market still exists – despite it being unregulated.
The study states that unless the regulation is implemented for skin trading and gambling, then wagers will surpass $1 billion (£705.085 million) globally since 11% of 11-16 years old in the UK had placed bets with skins in 2017.
Esports Insider says: The underage aspect of skins gambling has been an issue for quite some time, but with gigantic numbers being forecast, it’s hard to see Steam not wanting the biggest piece of that pie that’s available. Nonetheless, esports is becoming more and more professional as it grows, so regulations seem inevitable at some point.