Earlier this month we reported on a US loot box bill, which US senator, Josh Hawley, planned to introduced to the United States senate. The bill has now been introduced and is also available for the public to read, but hasn’t yet been made an official law.
Josh Hawley introduced the loot box bill because he believes that game publishers that market and sell loot boxes and pay-to-win microtransactions in games to minors are “basically adding casinos to children’s games“. The suggested prohibited microtransactions do not include higher difficulty modes, cosmetic items or add-on content, but rather focuses on prohibiting pay-to-win mechanisms.
Another important aspect to keep in mind when reviewing the proposed loot box bill, is that it is focused on prohibiting loot boxes and pay-to-win microtransactions for “minor-oriented games”. The bill defines these “minor-oriented games” as games “for which the target audience is individuals under the age of 18“. This means that the bill isn’t focused on higher rated games.
Now, the proposed loot box bill has been backed by two US Democrats, Ed Markey and Richard Blumentha, which means it is moving along the US law-making process. The next steps in the rather complicated and heavily political process involves the proposed bill being sent to a committee. This committee will review the bill, hold hearings, and go through multiple voting stages before the bill has a chance of being promulgated into law in the US.
The bill has been previously criticized by the US Entertainment Software Association for suggesting that loot boxes are the same as gambling, citing countries like Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, and the UK that have determined that loot boxes don’t constitute gambling. The Association went on to argue that parents already possess the ability to control their children’s spending in games.
Do you think this loot box bill is a good idea? You can read it here.