US Senator Will Introduce Bill to Ban Loot Boxes and Other Monetization Methods in Video Games

The legislation would have a sweeping effect on the gaming industry.

Posted By | On 09th, May. 2019

loot boxes

Yesterday, we reported about Germany looking into gaming monetization, such as loot boxes, and how legislation there could have a big impact on the gaming industry. It’s part of a worldwide trend of countries and their respective governing bodies looking at the issue. The United States is one of them, as we know the FTC will have a workshop about the subject this August, but it seems things could be heating up even before that. Today, a freshmen Senator has announced he will introduce a bill to address the topic.

Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), who was elected in last year’s US midterm elections, announced a bill he would be introducing to Congress that he dubbed “The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act.” He specifically singles out Candy Crush as an example of the type of game that uses what he considers exploitative practices. It is worth noting that Hawley is the youngest member serving in the Senate at only 39 years old, so he’s probably much more understanding of the criticisms lobbied at gaming monetization than the average member, who tend to be much older. You can even see that in what he wants the bill to combat, encapsulating much of what those calling for regulations argue:

“The most abusive such practices are:

“Pay to win: Pay-to-win games take two forms. In some cases, designers engineer games with artificial difficulty curves to induce players to spend money on upgrades simply to progress. These games are often offered for free, enticing players to download and even offering them a false sense of progression upon initial download before artificially increasing difficulty to induce compulsive purchases. In other cases, designers create multiplayer games offering players who purchase paid upgrades competitive advantages over other players.

“Loot boxes: Loot boxes, incorporated both in free and paid games, offer players randomized rewards for spending money, combining the addictive properties of pay-to-win with the compulsive behavior inherent in other forms of gambling.”

Of course, dozens of bills get introduced to both chambers of Congress every year that never pass. It’s unclear at this time what level of support the bill has, and it would still have to pass the House of Representatives if it were to clear the Senate. Still, it goes to show that various governments are paying close attention to gaming monetization, much more so than just a few years ago. GamingBolt will keep you updated on how this progresses, so stay tuned.


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