Gamers are passionate about loot boxes, as noted by some elected officials.
A new Senate bill was officially launched today with support from both parties, and it could categorically change how today's top platforms and distribution platforms monetize the titles they sell. The introduction of the bill was first reported by The Verge.
The bill claims that "pay-to-win" transactions provide users with a nominal benefit for a fee or loot box, allowing users to essentially play a slot machine to rarely or win important items that are bad for minors and must be blocked. If the bill passes, fines can be imposed on offensive studios.
It is difficult to repeat what big impact this legislation might have. The games industry has reorganized in the field of micro-transactions over the last decade. Much of the growth of the industry's biggest success story is due to the idea that free download games can quickly result in massive growth with network effects, and gradually monetize these users with small payments for items that give them a unique look or edge.
Of course, this would by no means completely limit the transactions in the game, but loot boxes were one of the most lucrative models. By setting a cap on acceptable behavior for these transactions, gaming companies may need to find new ways to monetize their content.
The death of loot boxes is unlikely to be mourned by many outside the bookkeeping departments of game publishers. They had fun for adults who knew exactly what they were doing, but it was mostly annoying.
Josh Hawley, who introduced the bill, told Kotaku earlier this week that they were plundering boxes "basically adding casinos to children's games," which generally feels like a fair claim.
As with almost all the major laws aimed at new technology trends, the potential that the breadth of the language allows for this can be very damaging to the industry, but the breadth here seems to be that this slightly-oriented provision is universal in the end will be. Gizmodo also identifies a few grayscale issues that arise from what exactly is meant by "profit sharing".
What is a "minor" game? Is this just some ESRB rating game under "M for Mature"? No, the bill outlines that game publishers need to focus on titles if they have "constructive knowledge that users are under the age of 1
This was addressed in a FAQ list as follows:
While a large proportion of gamers have grown up, even games with predominantly adult gamers, including games that are primarily for adults, are found Children a huge attraction. Developers should be compelled to prevent the consumption of products that promote gambling and encourage compulsive buying by children, as is the case in other industries where access to certain types of adult entertainment products and entertainment is required Consumer is restricted.
There are some important issues to get under control, and the gambling industry was obviously not as active as it should be to ensure that minors are not exploited during a land grabbing with microtransactions I'll cry over them, but here is a lot going on, so hopefully nothing will come through without proper considerations.
You can read the full text of the legislation here.