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Thread: Loot Box Bill has legs...

  1. Default Loot Box Bill has legs...

    Bill to ban the sale of loot boxes to children presses forward with bipartisan support

    Sens. Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal are on board

    Today, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) will be formally introducing his bill to ban the sale of loot boxes to children, and two of his Democratic colleagues have signed on in support of the legislation.

    Hawley’s Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act would, if approved, prohibit video game companies from selling loot boxes to children under the age of 18 and make it unlawful for minor-oriented games to include pay-to-win mechanics. If a games company was found to be unlawfully including these features in games targeted to minors it would be financially penalized.

    It’s only been a few months since Hawley has taken office and he’s already built up a reputation as a tough critic of US tech companies like Facebook and Google. With this new legislation, Hawley has paired up with two other lawmakers, Sens. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), to tackle what they believe to be exploitation in the gaming space.

    “ONLY THE ADDICTION ECONOMY COULD PRODUCE A BUSINESS MODEL THAT RELIES ON PLACING A CASINO IN THE HANDS OF EVERY CHILD”
    “Only the addiction economy could produce a business model that relies on placing a casino in the hands of every child in America with the goal of getting them desperately hooked,” Hawley said. “I’m proud to introduce this landmark, bipartisan legislation to end these exploitative practices.”


    Markey has worked with Hawley before to introduce changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) to extend greater data privacy protections to minors online. This legislation would create an “eraser button” for parents to remove all of their child’s data from the related service.

    “Today’s digital entertainment ecosystem is an online gauntlet for children,” Markey said of the loot box bill. ”Inherently manipulative game features that take advantage of kids and turn play time into pay time should be out of bounds.”

    Pressure to regulate loot boxes and pay-to-win mechanics has continued to build over the course of the past few years. Loot boxes and microtransactions have become prominent features in both mobile games and those created by triple-A studios like Blizzard and Electronic Arts. Just this week, Nintendo was forced to pull two games that contained the features from the Belgium market because they violated the country’s own loot box regulations.


    “I’m proud to sponsor this bipartisan legislation to protect kids from predatory gaming apps and hold bad actors accountable for their reprehensible practices,” Blumenthal said. “Congress must send a clear warning to app developers and tech companies: Children are not cash cows to exploit for profit.”

    Of note, Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), who first raised concerns over loot boxes last fall in a hearing with the Federal Trade Commission, is not currently a cosponsor to the bill.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Koars Light View Post
    Bill to ban the sale of loot boxes to children presses forward with bipartisan support

    Sens. Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal are on board

    Today, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) will be formally introducing his bill to ban the sale of loot boxes to children, and two of his Democratic colleagues have signed on in support of the legislation.

    Hawley’s Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act would, if approved, prohibit video game companies from selling loot boxes to children under the age of 18 and make it unlawful for minor-oriented games to include pay-to-win mechanics. If a games company was found to be unlawfully including these features in games targeted to minors it would be financially penalized.

    It’s only been a few months since Hawley has taken office and he’s already built up a reputation as a tough critic of US tech companies like Facebook and Google. With this new legislation, Hawley has paired up with two other lawmakers, Sens. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), to tackle what they believe to be exploitation in the gaming space.

    “ONLY THE ADDICTION ECONOMY COULD PRODUCE A BUSINESS MODEL THAT RELIES ON PLACING A CASINO IN THE HANDS OF EVERY CHILD”
    “Only the addiction economy could produce a business model that relies on placing a casino in the hands of every child in America with the goal of getting them desperately hooked,” Hawley said. “I’m proud to introduce this landmark, bipartisan legislation to end these exploitative practices.”


    Markey has worked with Hawley before to introduce changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) to extend greater data privacy protections to minors online. This legislation would create an “eraser button” for parents to remove all of their child’s data from the related service.

    “Today’s digital entertainment ecosystem is an online gauntlet for children,” Markey said of the loot box bill. ”Inherently manipulative game features that take advantage of kids and turn play time into pay time should be out of bounds.”

    Pressure to regulate loot boxes and pay-to-win mechanics has continued to build over the course of the past few years. Loot boxes and microtransactions have become prominent features in both mobile games and those created by triple-A studios like Blizzard and Electronic Arts. Just this week, Nintendo was forced to pull two games that contained the features from the Belgium market because they violated the country’s own loot box regulations.


    “I’m proud to sponsor this bipartisan legislation to protect kids from predatory gaming apps and hold bad actors accountable for their reprehensible practices,” Blumenthal said. “Congress must send a clear warning to app developers and tech companies: Children are not cash cows to exploit for profit.”

    Of note, Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), who first raised concerns over loot boxes last fall in a hearing with the Federal Trade Commission, is not currently a cosponsor to the bill.
    Shut up Macguyver.
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  3. Default

    It actually get’s worse and applies to effectively ALL microtransactions...

    Inherently manipulative game features that take advantage of kids and turn play time into pay time should be out of bounds,” Markey said. Blumenthal said he was proud to support the bill because it would “protect kids from predatory gaming apps and hold bad actors accountable for their reprehensible practices.”

    Hawley himself said the bill was aimed at combating an “addiction economy” that places “a casino in the hands of every child in America with the goal of getting them desperately hooked.”

    The actual text of the legislation, however, appears to cast a very wide net. Ostensibly, any video game created, whether for children or not, whether containing a casino-like mechanic or not, would be in some way restricted by this law.

    What it aims to do is prohibit specifically “pay-to-play microtransactions” and “loot boxes.” It’s how these terms are defined, however, that will cause game developers and players the most headache. It would limit, for instance, the types of rewards that can be offered when players purchase “Collector’s Editions” of video games. Expansion packs that, aside from additional content, grant players competitive advantages over ones who don’t purchase them would be banned.

    Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games, in particular, would be forced to drastically curtail the kinds of optional items available for purchase.

  4. #4

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    So...what exactly is a "pay-to-play microstransaction"?

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Astray View Post
    So...what exactly is a "pay-to-play microstransaction"?
    Every event Simu runs where you buy simucoin, then earn Rachi, next spend that micro currency on in game lootboxes (treasure,gear, etc). That is only available from the company via a micro transaction payment. Basically what all game companies are doing is illegal gambling without a license.
    Last edited by Bryce; 05-24-2019 at 08:55 AM.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bryce View Post
    Every event Simu runs where you buy simucoin, then earn Rachi, next spend that micro currency on in game lootboxes (treasure,gear, etc). That is only available from the company via a micro transaction payment. Basically what all game companies are doing is illegal gambling without a license.
    Maybe you should read the actual text of the bill.
    "Hi, my name is Ososis and I'm blaming my shitty life for being such a fragile, soy drinking, emotionally unstable loser. My triggers are: Red reputation, ANY mention of MacGuyver and being called a fragile, soy drinking, emotionally unstable loser."

  7. #7

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    Reading is 100% for nerds, though

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Astray View Post
    So...what exactly is a "pay-to-play microstransaction"?
    Something where it lets you start and then stops you after a while and tells you you can't continue without paying. Candy Crush I think did this. You'd have a certain number of lives per day, and if you used them, you had to pay premium currency for more lives. Atlantica Online's another example. When that was in its early stages you had stamina, and when you were out of stamina for the day, your choices were stop playing or buy a "license".
    Last edited by Stumplicker; 05-24-2019 at 09:57 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumplicker View Post
    Something where it lets you start and then stops you after a while and tells you you can't continue without paying. Candy Crush I think did this. You'd have a certain number of lives per day, and if you used them, you had to pay premium currency for more lives. Atlantica Online's another example. When that was in its early stages you had stamina, and when you were out of stamina for the day, your choices were stop playing or buy a "license".
    I'm really interested in seeing how they articulate that. Does a consumer have a 'right' to play an otherwise f2p game as much as they want? Does this also apply to extra lives, subscriptions, or premium memberships? Can't wait for the legal definition of what constitutes "pay to win", even gamers haven't been able to figure that out.
    You had better pay your guild dues before you forget. You are 113 months behind.

  10. #10

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    I thought this would really only have to do with events where you are provided with a random chance to win prizes of great consequence, but were required to pay for every chance. Which is effectively a slot machine. Which is technically gambling. Which is exactly what Duskruin Dig, EG Diving, EG Games, Delirium Manor, and any other event of that nature should be considered. When I first saw this in gaming, I was playing Rift, and people were spending $1000s like idiots on loot boxes through the shop to get random chances at extremely rare mounts, components for crafting, and other high-end "Bind on Pickup" equipment.

    The majority of your "whales" in those communities are rich children who have no concept of the value of the money they're throwing at a game.

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