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United States Senator Introduces Bill to Ban Loot Boxes and Pay-to-Win Microtransactions

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It has been a while since we have heard anything on the loot box front in the gaming industry. We thought it died down after the Star Wars: Battlefront II fiasco but it is now stronger than ever. Senator Josh Hawley yesterday announced a bill to ban loot boxes and pay-to-win microtransactions in games played by minors.

“Games played by minors” includes games developed and designed for kids under the age of 18 as well as games developed knowing that minors would engage in them”.

The bill named “The Protecting Children Against Abusive Games Act” touches on a few issues and games currently on the market. Candy Crush is one of these offering $150 in-game purchases which Hawley uses as an example of how people can use a lot of money without knowing.

“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.”

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But Hawley may face some resistance in his pursuit to ban the game mechanics. The Entertainment Software Association sent over a statement to Kotaku after posting the article about the bill stating that “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.” 

In short, they seem to disagree with this bill to ban loot boxes by using other countries as a defence on the issue. They also speak about parental controls as protection against everything Hawley’s bill stands for. We will have to see how this all plays out in the months ahead and how well it is recieved in the U.S. v

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