In video games, a case (sometimes crate or loot box as well as other names) is a consumable virtual item which can be redeemed to receive a randomised selection of further virtual items, ranging from simple customization options for a player's avatar or character, to game-changing equipment such as weapons and armor. A loot box is typically a form of monetisation, with players either buying the boxes directly or receiving the boxes during play and later buying "keys" with which to redeem them. These systems may also be known as gacha (based on gashapon - capsule toys) and integrated into gacha games.
Loot box concepts originated from loot systems in massively multiplayer online role-playing games, and from the monetisation of free-to-play mobile gaming. They first appeared around 2007 to 2010, but since then, appear in many free-to-play games and in some full-priced titles. Loot box systems were made highly visible through the popularity of Overwatch (2016), but several games that followed in 2017 expanded approaches to loot boxes that caused loot box systems to be highly criticised by the second half of 2017, in particular Star Wars Battlefront II.
In video games, skin gambling is the use of virtual goods, which are most commonly cosmetic elements such as "skins" which have no direct influence on gameplay, as virtual currency to bet on the outcome of professional matches or on other games of chance. It primarily has occurred within the player community for the game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive by Valve Corporation, but practice of it exists in other game communities. Valve also runs the Steam marketplace which can be interfaced by third-parties to enable trading, buying, and selling of skins from players' Steam inventories for real-world or digital currency, though Valve itself condemns the gambling practices and such activity violates Steam's Terms of Service.
Valve added random skin rewards as part of an update to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in 2013, believing that players would use these to trade with other players and bolster both the player community and its Steam marketplace. A number of websites were created to bypass monetary restrictions Valve set on the Steam marketplace to aid in high-value trading and allowing users to receive cash value for skins. Some of these sites subsequently added the ability to gamble on the results of professional matches or in games of chance with these skins, which in 2016 was estimated to handle around $5 billion of the virtual goods. These sites, along with Valve and various video game streamers, have come under scrutiny due to ethical and legal questions relating to gambling on sporting matches, underage gambling, undisclosed promotion, and outcome rigging. Evidence of such unethical practices was discovered in June 2016, and led to two formal lawsuits filed against these sites and Valve in the following month. Valve subsequently has taken steps to stop such sites from using Steam's interface for enabling gambling, leading to about half of these sites to close down, while driving more of the skin gambling into an underground economy.
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