American government officials have finally taken their shot at video game lootboxes. Specifically, Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri announced his intention to introduce the “The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act” to the US Senate.
This is the culmination of slow-burning anti-lootbox sentiment that’s bubbled up from the gaming community over the course of the last year-and-a-half. Ever since games like Battlefront II and Middle Earth: Shadow of War took lootboxes and in-game purchases from just “occasionally-overpriced bling” to “pay-to-win garbage,” those who regulate fair trade have begun to sit up and take notice.
Pay to win games on games consoles received a massive backlash from gamers and I think that games developers have taken notice of this.
Overwatch gets it right, with its loot boxes that can only reward you with cosmetic changes. I hope games like Overwatch can get to keep their lootbox system.
Pay to win games on mobile devices is an entirely different beast though. Games on mobile devices frequently use pay-to-win tactics through in-app purchases as a way of making money on free games. It’s these games that I hope to get targeted through this bill.
There’s one other consideration as well. Games are sold with ratings on them which indicates the age with which the content of the game is aimed at. If you decide that your kids are okay to play games that have a much higher age rating on them, then, in my eyes, you are also responsible for ensuring that your kids know the do’s and don’ts of that games lootbox system.