Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) today announced a bill banning loot boxes and paying off microtransactions in "Minor Games", a broad label that the Senator believes will encompass both games for children under the age of 18 and games "whose developers knowingly allow tiny players to conduct microtransactions."
Hawley will soon submit to the US Senate the bill "Protecting Children from Abusive Games." In press release announcing the bill, Hawley's team brought the Activision game Candy Crush as an outrageous example of pay-to-win micro-transactions, thanks to its $ 150 "Luscious Bundle" package Contains a series of goodies. This bill is also likely to apply to a host of online games that contain loot boxes and other ways that players can spend money on real benefits.
You can not monetize the addiction, "Hawley said in a press release. "And when kids play games designed for adults, they should be cut off from compulsive microtransactions. Game developers who knowingly exploit children should face legal consequences. "
The Federal Trade Commission had promised to examine loot boxes last fall after writing a letter to Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) she wrote in 2017 with heavy use of predatory microtransactions, such as Middle-earth : Shadow of War and Star Wars Battlefront II . Although some companies have withdrawn in practice, popular games like Overwatch FIFA and Apex Legends still make a lot of money on randomized microtransactions. Many of these games are played by both adults and children.
Hawley, 39, is known in Washington for criticizing the big tech companies Facebook and Google, and often blames them for being anti-conservative prejudices.
UPDATE (12.18): The Entertainment Software Association, the lobby group of the video game industry, issued a statement shortly after the introduction of this law: "Numerous countries, including Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand and New Zealand The United Kingdom noted that loot boxes are not a game of chance. We look forward to sharing with the Senator the tools and information that the industry already provides and keeps control of spending games in the hands of parents. Parents already have the option to restrict or prohibit purchases in the parental control game. "