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US anti-lootbox bill formally introduced, begins to gain political traction

Discussion in 'GBAtemp & Scene News' started by Chary, May 27, 2019.


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    While heated debates over the lawfulness of pay-to-win microtransactions and lootboxes continue, a United States Senator has taken the first step to introduce his bill to the Senate. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) hopes to make changes to the current landscape of gaming by regulating certain microtransactions and sales of lootboxes in video games. The bill, which has two supporters--Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)--intends to outlaw physical and digital games that are both targeted to minors and allow the use of elements that could be considered similar to gambling.

    In regards to his proposed law, which is titled The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act, Hawley commented the following:

    The full document, which is available for the public to read, clearly defines what is and isn't a predatory lootbox; anything cosmetic is entirely fine, but if the contents within a lootbox contain advantages for a player that would put them ahead of those who do not pay extra, then they are considered unlawful. Additionally, paying money for "cheats" or the ability to not have to wait for things to unlock would also be illegal. Should a publisher make use of such practices, they would be fined, as well as the online storefront. So, if EA theoretically included a pay-to-win microtransaction for a console game on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Sony, Microsoft, and Electronic Arts would be held liable. Or, if Ubisoft let players buy items that would let them skip segments of a game, and it was on PC, then both Steam/Epic and Ubisoft would be charged; the latter for adding it, and the former for allowing it to be sold. One-time purchase DLC that offers extra story, levels, or non-competitive items would be unaffected, like cosmetics.

    This bill faces political opposition, and is a long way from being anywhere close to approved, but it could be the first step for the United States government to ban titles with microtransactions, which could result in a similar outcome like with what happened in Belgium. The next process for The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act would be for it to go before a committee, where it can then be debated upon by other senators.

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    Discussion (116 replies)
  1. Idontknowwhattoputhere

    Idontknowwhattoputhere See i would put something here if i knew what to

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    Yes yes yes please!
    This will take some pocket out of EA shitsoft if it passes!
     
  2. ChrisMCNBVA

    ChrisMCNBVA GBAtemp Regular

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    does this mean like you won't get stuff daily or every 4 hours or so on mobile games or just on shooters?
     
    Leafgreen26 likes this.
  3. Costello

    Costello Headmaster

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    I wonder if right-leaning people will argue against this bill just because dems support it or if they will support it in spite of political differences
     
  4. Skelletonike

    Skelletonike ♂ ♥ Gallant Pervert ♥ ♀

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    I don't really know if this will be a good thing or not.
     
    urcent123 likes this.
  5. Engezerstorung

    Engezerstorung Advanced Member

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    if i understood correctly it doesnt prevent the possibility to wait but it will make illegal to sell stuff to not wait (so no accelerator of any kind), wich is going to defeat the purpose of making the player wait in 99% of the cases in the first place :P


    apparently there is already 2 democrats supporting it. sorry i dont know their name and i only heard on this matter in a youtube french video so it may be wrong!
     
  6. julianuf

    julianuf Advanced Member

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    Should have been all loot boxes, even cosmetics, but a great first step and I'll take it!
     
  7. Engezerstorung

    Engezerstorung Advanced Member

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    well it ban cosmetics in lootbox, no random thingy, they will be able to sell cosmetics but as they are (like when you buy clothes in a shop, they dont sell you mystery bags...)
     
  8. chaoskagami

    chaoskagami Former CFW Dev

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    I normally wouldn't agree with this kind of thing, but if it makes the gaming industry stop producing absolute garbage cash-grab shit, then I'm in. I care more about the long term effects this will have on how developers profit off users than actually banning loot boxes.
     
    Last edited by chaoskagami, May 27, 2019
  9. SkittleDash

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    Heh heh... Fuck you, EA. Evil laugh.
     
  10. julianuf

    julianuf Advanced Member

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    Reading the article, I got the impression that they were including an exception for things that don't have an impact on gameplay, such as cosmetics.
     
  11. Arras

    Arras GBAtemp Guru

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    How on earth does this make sense? Cosmetic paid lootboxes are just as much "trying to get children hooked to lootbox gambling" as any other type. Also, banning any type of progression-based microtransactions will instantly kill 95% of all mobile games, lmao. I would assume this also includes things like banning level skip potions in MMOs. I really don't see this happening in its current form.
     
    Last edited by Arras, May 27, 2019
  12. chaoskagami

    chaoskagami Former CFW Dev

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    Nope. It bans pay-to win microtransactions and loot boxes. Cosmetics are fine as microtransactions, loot boxes are a no-go full stop, if I'm reading the bill right. IANL, though.
     
    Chary likes this.
  13. Chary
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    Considering that the bill itself came from a "right leaning" senator, I assume it'll have support from republicans.
     
  14. Clydefrosch

    Clydefrosch GBAtemp Guru

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    All they need to do is explain to the president that loot boxes = money and he will outlaw not having loot boxes available in a game.
     
    Subtle Demise likes this.
  15. CTR640

    CTR640 GBAtemp Regular

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    Hehe nice. And EA was the first motherfuckers that started this shit. NOW EAT SHIT EA!
     
  16. Bladexdsl

    Bladexdsl ZOMG my posts...it's over 9000!!!

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    hope it passes get rid of these things they are cancer
     
  17. Rahkeesh

    Rahkeesh GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    I would think the main way out here for companies is to add legally satisfactory checks that children themselves aren't buying things, rather than actually dropping these practices. That could be as minor as a useless "are you 18" question, or something stronger if the law actually mandated it. Either way the monetization onslaught would continue.

    If that's the crux of the matter then its really more the platform holders that should be targeted rather than individual games. The likes of Apple, Google, Sony, or Steam in some way verifying purchases, rather than having to sort out whose games are P2W or not.
     
    Last edited by Rahkeesh, May 27, 2019
  18. mr allen

    mr allen Advanced Member

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    Something like that would fall under government regulation which the supreme court already said violates freedom of speech.
     
    Silent_Gunner and tangotnt like this.
  19. gnmmarechal

    gnmmarechal GBAtemp Guru

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    Hmm, this sounds ok. I'm fine with cosmetic-only lootboxes.
     
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