Bill Introduced By U.S. Senator to Ban Loot Boxes and Pay-to-Win Microtransactions

Loot Boxes

U.S. Senator Josh Hawley announced today that a bill would be introduced to ban loot boxes and pay-to-win microtransactions in games that are played by minors. The senator also said that this would apply to games that are designed for kids under 18 rating.

Senator Hawley says the bill, “The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act,” will soon be introduced to the U.S. Senate soon. Hawley’s team brought up the Activision game Candy Crush in the press material announcement, stating that the Candy Crush is an appalling example of pay-to-win microtransactions. Thanks to its $150 “Luscious Bundle” that comes with a bunch of goodies.

This bill will also apply to several online games that feature loot boxes and other ways in which players can spend money for real benefits. In the press statement, Sen. Hawley was stated,

Social media and video games prey on user addiction, siphoning our kids’ attention from the real world and extracting profits from fostering compulsive habits. No matter this business model’s advantages to the tech industry, one thing is clear: there is no excuse for exploiting children through such practices

When a game is designed for kids, game developers shouldn’t be allowed to monetize addiction. And when kids play games designed for adults, they should be walled off from compulsive microtransactions. Game developers who knowingly exploit children should face legal consequences.

In-game purchases, or more commonly known as microtransactions have come under scrutiny in the recent years, in part, because children use their parent’s credit cards or other payment methods to purchase items offered in games. These can rack up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Pay-to-win mechanics in games that target minors would also be outlawed in this legislation. This includes progression systems that attract people to spend money to advance through a game’s content at a faster pace.

Responding to the bill, and to Sen. Hawley, leading video game trade industry, the Entertainment Software Association answered to the proposal saying that many other countries have determined that loot boxes do not constitute gambling, which is something they have been criticized for resembling in the past.

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 have the ability to limit or prohibit in-game purchases with easy to use parental controls.

Sen. Hawley is known in Washington for criticizing major tech companies like Google and Facebook. He has accused these companies of anti-conservative bias.

What do you think of this new bill that bans loot boxes and pay-to-win microtransactions? Post your comments below.

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About the Author: Salik Shah

An ardent lover for first-person shooter games, Salik has been part of GamesHedge all through its journey. His love for competitive gaming started with Counter-Strike and Call of Duty, and now can be seen lurking in Valorant and Rainbow Six: Siege.

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