It has finally come to this: a U.S senator by the name of Josh Hawley announced a bill that could change how triple-A companies and mobile game businesses run their operations (via Kotaku).
Said bill, “The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act”, will ban lootboxes and pay-to-win microtransactions in “games played by minors”. The latter bit will include games (i) designed for children under 18 and (ii) games “whose developers knowingly allow minor players to engage in microtransactions”. The press releases about the bill cites Candy Crush as an example thanks to its US$150 “Luscious Bundle” that comes with pay-to-win options.
This bill may also affect certain Japanese and Asian-made gacha games with lootbox mechanics and random chances for players to get powerful units that look kid-friendly. Oh, and it’ll also affect titles like Star Wars: Battlefront II too. We don’t think it’ll affect Middle Earth: Shadows Of War and Mortal Kombat 11 because those games are rated M.
Will this game-changing bill make other countries follow suit? Perhaps. While most countries don’t see loot boxes as gambling, they can seem predatory in practice. The bill will be introduced to the U.S Senate soon; if anything, we’re sure a majority of gamers are happy at seeing this business practice being regulated in some shape or form.