Loot boxes targeted in bill from U.S. Senator
Senator Josh Hawley recently announced a bill that would see loot boxes and pay-to-win micro-transactions in video games banned. The ban will cover both games designed for children under the age of 18 and titles “whose developers knowingly allow minor players to engage in micro-transactions.”
The bill, which is named “The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act”, will be presented to the U.S. Senate soon by Hawley. Titles such as Candy Crush are being used as examples when it comes to games that encourage pay-to-win micro-transactions, citing its “Luscious Bundle”, which costs $150, as an instance of such a thing.
The Federal Trade Commission pledge to investigate loot boxes in the latter half of 2018 after Senator Maggie Hassan penned a letter after observations regarding games and their use of micro-transactions in 2017. Games such as Middle-Earth: Shadow of War and Star Wars Battlefront II are said to be culprits.
Entertainment Software Association (ESA) was quick to follow up the plans with a statement:
“Numerous countries, including Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, determined that loot boxes do not constitute gambling. We look forward to sharing with the senator the tools and information the industry already provides that keeps the control of in-game spending in parents’ hands. Parents already can limit or prohibit in-game purchases with easy to use parental controls.”
A whole host of top titles, in terms of player base and viewership, openly include loot boxes, including FIFA and Apex Legends. The former does place emphasis on micro-transactions when it comes to a player better their own performance, though the latter hands out items that are purely cosmetic and have no benefit when utilised in-game.