Valve Corporation, a leading worldwide video developer, is limiting sales of loot box keys on its massively popular Counter Strike:Global Offensive (CS:GO) game, but not for the reasons you might be expecting. While debate rages about loot box culture and its potential role as a gateway to problem gambling, Valve is taking a look at the role of loot boxes in a massive money laundering scheme.
The announcement was made via an official CS:GO blog and was pretty straightforward in its message: loot box key sales will be severely limited because they’re being used by criminals to launder ill-gotten cash. More specifically, the official loot box key after market is being shut down. Players will still be able to purchase and use loot box keys, they just won’t be able to re-sell them.
Valve’s official statement on the matter read, “…worldwide fraud networks have recently shifted to using CS:GO keys to liquidate their gains. At this point, nearly all key purchases that end up being traded or sold on the marketplace are believed to be fraud-sourced. As a result we have decided that newly purchased keys will not be tradeable or marketable.”
While critics may see this situation as a black eye for Valve, it’s really quite the opposite. The mere fact that the company has systems in place to detect this kind of fraud and crime speaks volumes about their commitment to compliance.
This is a definite win for video games developers, but it probably won’t do much to quiet the voices of critics who say loot boxes are a form of gambling for kids anyways.